LUCASVILLE – Despite a slow start to their second SOC road game of the season, the Minford Falcons won their third game in five days over a red hot Valley Indians team in Lucasville Monday night, 53-42.
“Saturday, we went on the road to Boyd County and had a battle with East Carter (Ky.)” said Minford head coach Shane Davis following the Falcons double digit road win Monday night, “That took a lot out of us. It was physical play over there. I was telling Coach Daniels before the game that I could kind of tell the girls kind of had that look in their eye, that they thought they would show up and win. East Carter’s a good team, so we thought tonight they were going to show up and win. But Coach (Mark Merritt of Valley) does a good job over there, and he’s got some good players.”
It was an ugly first quarter both ways. Minford and Valley committed numerous turnovers and couldn’t throw a shot in the ocean if they were standing on the beach, which led to a 4-4 end of the first quarter score.
But after the first quarter, the Falcons settled in and were able to extend a lead out over Valley on the Indians home court.
Minford was playing without senior guard Caitlyn Puckett Monday night after she suffered a concussion in their game on Saturday, and once Davis’ team figured out how to play without one of their floor generals, they were able to play more to their brand of basketball.
“Our subs did a good job without us having Caitlyn and some of our starters being in foul trouble early on,” said Davis. “I don’t know the point margin, but they really stepped up for us during that stretch and I emphasized that in the locker room. Without them stepping up, it might have been a scary night.”
The third quarter proved to be the Falcons best of the night thanks to their excellent defensive play and up and down style of play. Brittani Wolfenbarker and Maddie Slusher hit a combined three threes in their third quarter as the two combined for eight and seven third quarter points to extend their lead to 37-20 heading into the final eight minutes of play.
But then something started happening that hadn’t necessarily happened all night: the Indians started making shots. Coming out of the fourth quarter huddle, Valley managed to score 14 points in the first 3 ½ minutes of the fourth to at one point cut a 17 point deficit to just eight points.
That was when Davis knew his offense had to run through his other senior besides Puckett, Ashley Blankenship.
“She played well tonight,” said Davis. “She’s been the one constant thing for us all year, she hasn’t dropped off for us. When you’ve got an inside force like Ashley, you have to go to her. She’s showed up for us so far this year.”
Blankenship’s senior leadership and excellent foul shooting led the senior center to 11 fourth quarter points while going 7/10 from the foul line and scoring two inside shots to help propel the Falcons to a 53-42 road SOC II win Monday night.
Blankenship led the Falcons in scoring with 24 total points on the night while Slusher and Wolfenbarker both finished with eight points apiece.
For the Indians, they were led in scoring by junior guard Bre Call who had a team high 15 points, Brooklyn Buckle who has eight points, and Kaity Howard who has six points.
The Falcons will have the next two days off from games and prepare for Thursday’s home SOC II game with the Waverly Tigers who will be visiting Minford after dropping their game Monday night against Wheelersburg.
“We’re going to take from this that we can’t overlook anybody,” said Davis, “We’re going to have a battle every night in the SOC. Waverly isn’t going to lay down for us either. They have some good players and their coach is going to have them ready. We just have to emphasize that we have to show up and not overlook anybody.”
As for Valley, they will once again host an SOC II opponent, and this Thursday it will be the Northwest Mohawks who are fresh off their first SOC II win of the season over South Webster Monday night.
Minford: 14-14-19-14 – 53
Valley: 4-7-9-22 – 42
Minford: 17 FGs, 3 3pts (Wolfenbarker 3), 16/25 FTs. Scoring: Blankenship 24, Slusher 8, Wolfenbarker 8, Coriell 4, Watters 3, Shonkwiler 3, Tolle 3
Valley: 12 FGs, 3 3pts (Call 2), 9/16 FTs. Scoring: Call 15, Buckle 8, Howard 6, Hettinger 5, Day 4, Conaway 4
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT