ROSEMOUNT — The rain was most certainly falling on Monday night, but the shots most certainly were not for the Clay Lady Panthers.
But, when it rains it indeed pours, and the Lady Panthers — playing host to the Symmes Valley Vikings in a Southern Ohio Conference Division I tilt — pretty much had everything going against them despite a strong start.
The Lady Panthers roared out to a 12-5 lead, but then hit an epic scoring drought of almost 10 minutes, and ultimately lost to the visiting Vikings 40-31 at Clay High School.
Indeed, when you don’t shoot well AND turn the basketball over, it’s going to be a rough night — which is simply what second-year Clay head coach Scott Artis described Monday evening’s outcome.
“It wasn’t our night. We didn’t take care of the ball and we had a very poor shooting night. That is not typical of us, because we have some good shooters on this team. They just couldn’t find the hole. And we didn’t shoot a good free-throw percentage either. It was just an overall bad shooting night, and that translates both sides,” he said. “It translates to your intensity, and when you’re not hitting shots, everything seems to look worse than it is. If some shots had fallen for us, things might have turned out different.”
As a result, it was a disappointing home defeat for the Lady Panthers, which fell to 1-7 — and 1-4 in the SOC I.
Symmes Valley, with the victory, raised its record to 3-4 — and to 2-3 in the division.
The Lady Panthers pushed out to a 9-5 advantage after the opening quarter, and actually opened up a 12-5 lead just 38 seconds into the second stanza.
Megan Bazler split a pair of free throws just 20 seconds in, and Shaley Munion scored on a layup off a rebound just 18 tics after that.
But the next Clay points didn’t register until nine minutes and 55 seconds later — when Jaelyn Warnock knocked in a three-pointer just two minutes and 33 seconds into the third period.
By then, the Lady Vikings — taking advantage of several Panther missed shots, turnovers and lack of rebounds — had reeled off 16 consecutive points to lead 21-12 just two minutes into the second half.
Warnock made a steal and layup at the 4:55 mark of the third to get the Panthers to within four (21-17), but Clay endured another serious scoring stoppage — this one lasting exactly six minutes before Warnock split a pair of free throws.
The Vikings led for the final 21 minutes, and the Panthers went six-and-a-half minutes between trailing by five (22-17 and 31-26) two times.
Artis said Warnock — who easily paced all scorers with 17 points on two twos, two threes and 7-of-10 free throws — went out in the second stanza with a twisted ankle, and the momentum squarely shifted Symmes Valley’s direction.
Warnock didn’t score in the second before she went to the sideline — and the Vikings began to turn the Panthers over, out-rebound them, and beat them in transition.
For the game, the Lady Panthers shot just 9-of-54 for an ice-cold 17-percent, including only 3-of-16 from three-point land for 19-percent.
Even Warnock (4-of-18) and Munion (3-of-17) struggled shooting, combining to go only 8-of-35.
The Lady Panthers committed 20 total turnovers, and combined to go 10-of-17 from the free-throw line, including only 4-of-8 in the opening half — with the remainder of the attempts occurring in the fourth quarter.
“When Jaelyn (Warnock) went out, we just lost our intensity and we couldn’t handle the ball. They got the momentum, they got a run going on us and hats off to them. Their defensive effort and us not handling the ball resulted in easy points for them. They basically scored on fast breaks,” said Artis.
And scored in waves.
After the Vikings’ 16 straight points, 14 of which were in the second quarter including the club’s only three-pointer by Taylor Sells that made it 16-12, Symmes Valley outscored Clay 8-2 over an eight-minute and 34-second stretch for its largest lead at 29-19 with 4:21 remaining.
Despite Clay cutting that deficit in half twice at 31-26 and 36-31, the Vikings’ Payton Hunter hit five of six foul shots in the final minute-and-a-half, including the final four in the final 55 seconds for the 40-31 final.
Symmes Valley held a 15-9 advantage in total field goals, as Hailee Littlejohn paced the Lady Vikings with four baskets for eight points, while Hunter had all seven of her markers in the fourth.
Sells added two fourth-quarter deuces for seven points, while Kylee Thompson with three field goals and Rachael Hayes with two field goals and 2-of-4 free throws finished with six points apiece.
Jenna Malone managed all five of her points in the fourth, while Spring Ross split a pair of second-stanza foul shots.
Munion, on three buckets and 2-of-4 first-quarter free throws, followed Warnock with eight points.
The pair combined for all nine (Munion five and Warnock four) Panther assists, while Warnock ripped down 15 of the squad’s 36 rebounds — and made off with four steals and two blocked shots.
Sophia Gatti with a fourth-quarter three-ball, Tabby Whitt with a first-quarter deuce, and Bazler’s aforementioned free throw rounded out the Lady Panther scoring.
The Lady Panthers return to the road, and return to SOC Division I competition, on Thursday at Ironton St. Joseph.
* * *
Symmes Valley 5 14 5 16 — 40
Portsmouth Clay 9 3 5 14— 31
SYMMES VALLEY 40 (3-4, 2-3 SOC I )
Jenna Malone 2 1-3 5, Payton Hunter 1 5-6 7, Meredith Humphreys 0 0-0 0, Taylor Sells 3 0-0 7, Rachael Hayes 2 2-4 6, Kaylee Cade 0 0-0 0, Lauren Wells 0 0-0 0, Kylee Thompson 3 0-0 6, Hailee Littlejohn 4 0-0 8, Spring Ross 0 1-2 1; TOTALS 15 9-15 40; Three-point goals: 1 (Taylor Sells 1)
CLAY 31 (1-7, 1-4 SOC I)
Jaelyn Warnock 4 7-10 17, Shaley Munion 3 2-4 8, Sophia Gatti 1 0-0 3, Kelsey Fowler 0 0-0 0, McKenzie Loper 0 0-0 0, Tabby Whitt 1 0-0 2, Kat Cochran 0 0-0 0, Megan Bazler 0 1-4 1; TOTALS 9 10-17 31 ; Three-point goals: 3 (Jaelyn Warnock 2, Sophia Gatti 1)
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved