WHEELERSBURG—The Minford Lady Falcons walked into ‘Burg country last night looking strong and hungry for a win. They stayed hungry, despite the Pirate victory 55-54. The Pirates were quick to score and with a faster team, they were up by five with 7:12 left in the first quarter. In addition to being fast, Wheelersburg proved they could shoot from anywhere on the court. They never missed.
The Falcons showed sparks of talent throughout, but were not playing to their advantage. The first two points scored were done with some fancy footwork, which none of the Falcons were lacking. Though the Falcons could be quick on their feet, they struggled keeping up with the Pirates when playing defense. Even when Wheelersburg could not get past the bigger, stronger Falcons, they could shoot some big three pointers with major air. Both teams were well-balanced, showing good communication, chemistry and ability to share the ball.
It simply came down to who was playing better in this game.
Minford, down by nine at the start of the second, went into the quarter trying hard to win the game. They needed to stay confident and make use of advantages, such as their strength. Though it was clear they wanted it, the Falcons could not shoot like the Pirates. Even when they stepped up their defense, Minford still struggled to hold the Pirates back.
Minford came back stronger after the first half. Though their game was still not perfect, if the Falcons would have played as well in the first, it could have changed the outcome of the game.
Two minutes into the fourth, the Falcons had nearly caught the Pirates, stopping the ball and getting within one point of ‘Burg with 4:57 remaining in the fourth quarter. If the Pirates were shaken, they certainly did not show it. They continued to slip past the Falcons and make it to the net. The Falcons, however, were now doing the same. With just over a minute in the game, the scored was tied 50-50.
The Pirates pulled away after a couple fouls against the Falcons. Then, with only eight seconds on the clock, Minford became determined to catch them, scoring two pointers back to back. With 2.3 seconds in the game, the referee called what fans considered a questionable foul against the Falcons, giving the Pirates a free throw, taking the game by one point.
“The kids played their hearts out,” a disappointed Falcon Coach Scott Caudill stated. “’Burg had the momentum in the first half. They were both two good teams. It came down to the last bucket.”
Caudill went on to say that he is very proud of his team. Though the Pirates put up a good fight, he was happy with how hard his team fought back. As far as future games, he remains confident.
“We got it. We’re fine. I’ll take my girls any day of the week,” he concluded.
“Wow, I think just ‘wow.’ I don’t know what else to say,” said Pirate Coach Dusty Spradlin. “We came out, and we shot the ball so well in the first half. They say this game is a game of momentum, but it tends to snowball. In the second half, Minford came out desperate, scratching and fighting, and worked their way into a much closer ball game. When they tied it, I remember we looked like we already lost. They punched us right square in the mouth, but we punched back. Sure, we gave up 20 points in the fourth quarter, but we got 14 too.”
Spradlin commended Minford, saying they make the game difficult with a big center and good guard play.
“They made us work for everything we got,” Spradlin commented. “A lot of teams would have thrown in the towel when they were down 26-7. But, I have to say, I expected this to be a close game. I wouldn’t have guessed it would have started the way it did. In the end we were just able to make a couple plays.”
The Wheelersburg Lady Pirates will go on to play Thursday night (Dec. 8) at Oak Hill.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1924.
1 2 3 4
Minford 7 19 34 54
Wheelersburg 26 32 41 55
Minford: Puckett-9, Daniels-9, Risner-7, Grasso-12, Blankenship-17
Wheelersburg: Collins-10, Ruby-14, Coleman-2, Swim-10, Emnett-3, Akers-16