Divison III regional final preview


Pirates set to face Berlin Hiland, spot in Final Four on the line

PDT Staff Report



Wheelersburg sophomore Kaylee Darnell’s huge three helped shift momentum in the late stages of the Pirates regional semifinal win over Morgan.

Wheelersburg sophomore Kaylee Darnell’s huge three helped shift momentum in the late stages of the Pirates regional semifinal win over Morgan.


Photo courtesy of Jenny Campbell

Wheelersburg (22-4) vs. Berlin Hiland (24-2)

Wheelersburg doesn’t have size. Wheelersburg isn’t good enough offensively. Wheelersburg won’t even win its conference.

Wheelersburg is the last area girls basketball team standing and has hushed its critics [and the aforementioned doubts and questions] with three consecutive deafening wins.

There’s no room left on Pirates’ bandwagon, but you can certainly run behind the bus.

Wheelersburg will face its toughest test — by far — Saturday afternoon when they take on Berlin Hiland in a Division III regional final at Logan High School. The Hawks, at 24-2, come in with three tournament wins over Union Local, Buckeye Trail and Alexander … by an average margin of 34.3 points.

In their regional semifinal win over Alexander, the Hawks had a 32-9 halftime lead.

But those eye-popping statistics continue. Eight of Hiland’s wins this season have come by 50-plus points including 61, 63, 69 and 80-point wins. Yeah … the program is really, really good.

Zoe Miller, the Division III East District Player of the Year, leads the charge. The 6-foot sophomore comes in averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds per game. She scored a season-high 27 points in one of the Hawks’ two losses this season — both coming to Division I schools in Centerville and Westerville South.

However, the Pirates have their own stable of capable scorers in Kaylee Darnell, Abbie Kallner, Ellie Kallner and Alaina Keeney.

That group, alongside the likes of Karlie Estep down low and defensive gurus Lani Irwin and Lauren Jolly, have beaten Adena, Huntington, Fairland, Eastern Brown and McConnelsville Morgan during its tournament run.

Hiland is a different animal, bringing a mix of size, talent, athleticism and energy. But Wheelersburg has embraced the underdog role all postseason long. The Pirates have been doubted before and they’ll be doubted again coming into Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. tip-off … with a chance to play at the Schottenstein Center on the line.

Wheelersburg sophomore Kaylee Darnell’s huge three helped shift momentum in the late stages of the Pirates regional semifinal win over Morgan.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2019/03/web1_wheelersburg_030819.jpgWheelersburg sophomore Kaylee Darnell’s huge three helped shift momentum in the late stages of the Pirates regional semifinal win over Morgan. Photo courtesy of Jenny Campbell
Pirates set to face Berlin Hiland, spot in Final Four on the line

PDT Staff Report