WEST PORTSMOUTH – Despite Emily Sissel’s three to start the game and give Portsmouth West the early 3-0 lead, Wheelersburg took control from there.
The Lady Pirates gave up the early open look but would not let themselves look back from that moment on. Wheelersburg proceeded to go on a 19-0 run to end the first quarter of play, something head coach Dusty Spradlin was glad to see out of his young bunch in Thursday night’s road win over the Senators 56-32.
“We won the tip, and we didn’t score that first possession,” said Spradlin. “They came down, and we knew they could really shoot the ball and work the ball around and found an open look. Our kids got finally got going a little bit and I looked up and I think we scored the next 11. Sometimes when we get the shots going, it’s contagious.”
Not just an 11-3 run, a 19-3 run is how well the Pirates responded to an early deficit on the road.
“We always found the open man tonight,” said sophomore Kaylee Darnell who led with a game high 16 points, all of which came from inside the three point line. “It really helped us succeed tonight and get the win.”
Not only was the Pirates offense firing on all cylinders, but the full court defense that Spradlin likes to run with his quick guards caused a lot of problems as the Senators tried to move the ball into the front court.
“We were able to extend the floor, get some pressure on their guards. Created some turnovers to try and get some easy baskets on the other end.”
“Coach Spradlin always pushes us to play defense, it’s always kind of been our thing,” said Wheelersburg senior Abbie Kallner who was second on the Pirates in scoring with 15 points which included three threes. “We’re going to win games by our defense. We’re going to make sure that if we’re not making shots, they’re not going to be making shots either.”
The Pirates would continue to extend their lead throughout the contest, including after a 23 point third quarter holding a 48-18 lead over the Senators.
“We have to get more consistent as the season goes on,” said Spradlin. “But It was a good time to get some younger kids in, get our younger kids some varsity experience, let them get a taste of what they need to do to be able to play at the varsity level.”
“It’s always a positive to get our younger girls in the game,” said Kallner. “To get them some varsity time that when they are on varsity, it’s not that big of a shell shock.”
The Senators won the fourth quarter over the Pirates 14-6, but their efforts proved to be too late by game’s end. They were led in scoring on the night by senior Jordyn Swords who finished with a team high 12 points, Emily Sissel who contributed eight, Natalie Mershon who had four, Eden Cline who had four, and Abby Adkins who had four.
Besides Kallner and Darnell, Wheelersburg was led by Ellie Kallner who had 12, Alaina Keeney who had seven, Brynley Preston who knocked down a three, Karlie Estep who contributed two points, and Lindsay Heimbach who knocked down one free throw for a point.
Wheelersburg will play in a tournament this Saturday at Greenup County High School against Spring Valley (Wv.) before facing off against Valley and South Webster next week.
Portsmouth West will travel to Waverly on Monday do face off against the Tigers before hosting Valley next Thursday night.
Wheelersburg beats West 56-32 to improve to 5-2 on the season. Senators fall to 2-5 on the year.
Story, interviews, and video will be out later tonight!#PDTSports
— Jacob Smith (@JacobSmithPDT) December 14, 2018
Wheelersburg: 19-6-23-8 – 56
Portsmouth West: 3-6-9-14 – 32
Wheelersburg: 23 FGs, 7 3pts (A. Kallner 3), 3/4 FTs. Scoring: Darnell 16, A. Kallner 15, E. Kallner 12, Keeney 7, Preston 3, Estep 2, Heimback 1
Portsmouth West: 13 FGs, 3 3pts (Sissel 2), 3/3 FTs. Scoring: Swords 12, Sissel 8, Mershon 4, Adkins 4, Cline 4
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT