MINFORD — In the case of Minford’s Ashley Blankenship, there is no such thing as “going to the well too many times.” Why? Blankenship’s ability to score points, seemingly, has no end.
The Falcons (6-1, 4-1 SOC II) looked to their 6-foot-2 senior center early and often Tuesday night in a 53-36 win over Waverly in Southern Ohio Conference II action. In the first half alone, she had 20 points.
And she made it look rather easy in doing so.
“If they can’t stop us from scoring inside, we’re not going away from that,” Minford coach Shane Davis said. “Ashley did a good job … she played a good first half. [Waverly] tried to deny her a bit in the second and I would’ve done the same thing. But she picked up the slack tonight.”
When asked about the night’s turning point, Waverly coach John Bonifield didn’t select a certain play or sequence. Instead, he singled out Blankenship as a turning point … all by her lonesome.
“The whole night, we just had a hard time dealing with Blankenship, who’s a great player,” Bonifield said. “We lack size, which you can’t coach. So we go with what we have. I thought we had a couple of breakdowns in the second quarter when we gambled a bit, which wasn’t our game plan. That led to easy points.”
But Blankenship wasn’t the only problem the Tigers (3-3, 2-3 SOC II) had to deal with.
While she created problems inside, guards Livi Shonkwiler and Maddie Slusher handled their business on the perimeter.
The duo combined for 14 points, six rebounds and nine assists. Shonkwiler had 10 points in her own right while Slusher posted a game-high six assists
“Maddie was a little discouraged tonight because she wasn’t hitting,” Davis said. “But it’s not just about her scoring. She’s distributing the ball, she’s playing good defense … [Waverly’s] Zoiee [Smith] is a good player. We wanted to attach Maddie to her and she did that for us. She played great defensively. She’s coming right along.”
In total, Minford outrebounded Waverly 43-29, led by Blankenship’s 14.
Turns out, the Falcons were practicing what Davis had been preaching.
“We’ve been stressing the necessity to box out,” Davis said. “Waverly got a lot of second looks I was thinking it was just a matter of time before they started falling. But yeah, we emphasize rebounding and boxing out all the time. Daily.”
Kami Knight paced Waverly’s offense with 14 points alongside seven rebounds. Smith followed with 10 points, six boards and two assists while Paige Carter added three points and a team-high eight rebounds. Hailey Robinson also chipped in with six points on two 3’s.
Blankenship finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds followed by Shonkwiler’s 10 points, four rebounds and three assists. Slusher ended the night with four points and a game-high six assists while Makenzie Watters added seven points.
What’s on tap
Minford gets back to action Monday, hosting South Webster while Waverly tries to bounce back the same night, hosting Portsmouth West.
Having the weekend off means some much needed rest and relaxation for the Falcons.
“We’re ready for a little bit of a break. We’ve scaled back in practice over the past couple of days and I think the girls responded well,” Davis said. “Tonight, coming into this game, we took care of business. But I think we’ve yet to hit our potential. When we put it altogether … I think the best is yet to come.”
For Waverly … well, the Tigers are ready to start seeing shots fall.
“We’re in a funk offensively. Until we start seeing the ball going in the basket, it’s going to put a lot more pressure on our defense,” Bonfield said. “It’s a snowball effect. Right now, we’ve had three games in a row where we’ve had a hard time putting the ball in the basket.”
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GIRLS BASKETBALL FINAL: Minford 53, Waverly 36.@kami_knight (W): 15 points, 7 rebounds@zoooiiieeeeeee (W): 10 points, 6 rebounds
A. Blankenship (M): 24 points, 15 rebounds@LiviShonkwiler (M): 10 points@maddie_slusher8 (M): 4 points, 6 assists#PDTsports pic.twitter.com/iwElNAYjEE
— Derrick Webb (@dw1509) December 14, 2018
Waverly: 11-6-10-9 — 36
Minford: 14-14-9-16 — 53
Waverly: 13-62 FG, 6-8 FT, 4-19 3pt. (Robinson 2, K. Knight 2), 29 rebounds (Carter 8), 20 turnovers, 6 assists (Smith 2). Scoring: K. Knight 14, Smith 10, Robinson 6, C. Knight 3, Carter 3.
Minford: 23-56 FG, 7-10 FT, 0-7 3pt., 43 rebounds (Blankenship 15), 17 turnovers, 11 assists (Slusher 6). Scoring: Blankenship 24, Shonkwiler 10, Watters 7, Slusher 4, Tolle 4, Coriell 2, Brumfield 2.Waverly senior Kami Knight had a team high 14 points for Waverly in their road loss to Minford Thursday night.Minford senior Ashley Blankenship scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in Tuesday’s win over Waverly.