LUCASVILLE — The Southern Ohio Conference Division II’s longest active girls basketball losing streak was loudly — and proudly — laid to rest on Monday.
With their last conference win coming in a 36-34 home victory over Northwest on November 29, 2018, the Portsmouth West Lady Senators (3-5, 1-4 SOC II) ended their 17-game SOC II losing streak with a resounding 54-39 road win over the Valley Lady Indians (2-5, 1-4 SOC II) on Monday.
“We came out with our game-plan where we thought we had some mismatches and executed really well,” first-year West coach Megan Artrip said following the win. “Couldn’t hit a shot in the first quarter, but they kept coming. Being able to overcome that first was a win for us.”
“They out-rebounded us tremendously, we were getting beat up on the inside,” Valley coach Mark Merritt said. “Something we’ve been working on all year is boxing out, so we’ll go back to the drawing board on that. We were missing shots early which we expect, but at the end we weren’t taking the right shots or hitting the right people.”
Monday’s win for the Lady Senators’ basketball program is its first SOC win in 382 days, but is the first road conference win since their 51-48 overtime win at Northwest on Thursday, November 30th, 2017. Monday’s win is also the first league win for the first-year coach Artrip, who also happens to be a former Merritt assistant in two different stints (2007-08, 2017-19).
The last time West won a road league game against an opponent not named Northwest? (Unofficial) For that, you’d have to go back to Thursday, January 17th, 2013 in a 66-55 win over Monday’s opponent — Valley.
West’s second double-digit road win in six years over Valley this go-round was a statement on the game as a whole, but it didn’t quite start that way.
After a first quarter in which the Lady Senators didn’t connect on a single field goal, their ability to score points in Monday’s win quickly found its’ level.
Trailing 5-2 after one, Artrip’s group went on to outscore the Lady Indians 19-11 in the second quarter to take a 21-16 lead into the halftime locker-room.
Sophomores Keima Bennett and Eden Cline both played vital roles in West’s second-quarter turnaround. Bennett scored nine of her 11 points in the second quarter, while Cline scored six of her tied for a game-high 12 points to end the first half.
Bennett and Cline excelled as Morgan Rigsby — one of three West seniors and the Lady Senators’ leading scorer through their first seven games — was sidelined for the latter end of the the first half due to foul trouble.
When the senior forward was on the court despite her foul trouble, Rigsby made her presence known with a tied for game-high 12 points and by snagging a team-high 12 rebounds by game’s end.
“Their effort was tremendous,” Artrip said of the Lady Senators’ three double-figure scorers. “We had a lot of offensive rebounds, something we’ve really done well all season. I think it’s attributed to our hustle and our mentality.”
West didn’t leave its first-half fumes in the halftime locker-room, either.
Boasting its five-point halftime lead, West would extend its lead to 38-24 by the end of the third quarter. The largest the Lady Senators’ lead would reach was 22 points — after a Charlie Jo Howard made-three extended the score to 48-26 in the early fourth quarter.
“We did a great job of passing up good shots for even better shots,” Artrip said. “We found our mismatch and where we wanted to get the ball, played very unselfishly tonight.”
West’s Abbi Pack finished with seven points and eight rebounds, Howard finished with six points off two-made threes and eight rebounds, and Maelynn Howell finished with two points and seven rebounds.
For Valley, Bre Call finished with 10 points, Brooklyn Buckle finished with eight, Karsyn Conaway finished with seven, Caitlin Kennard finished with five, Haley Whitt finished with four, Nichole Gilliland finished with three and MacKenzie Wright finished with two.
West will return to ‘The Rock’ on Thursday for an SOC II battle with conference newcomer Eastern. Valley travels on Thursday to Minford for another SOC II league game.
“With the team that we have, since they’re so young, confidence is everything,” Artrip said. “Getting a couple wins under our belt definitely helps that. We’re going to keep building and keep getting better and we’ll see where that takes us.”
“Credit West for the win with their hustle,” Merritt said. “We’ve got some soul-searching to do, and it starts this week.”
West 2 19 17 16 — 54
Valley 5 11 8 15 — 39
WEST 54 (3-5, 1-4 SOC II)
Maelynn Howell 1 0-0 2, Abby Adkins 0 2-4 2, Eden Cline 3 6-8 12, Haley Coleman 1 0-0 2, Abbi Pack 1 4-6 7, Charlie Jo Howard 2 0-0 6, Kenzi Boggs 0 0-0 0, Morgan Rigsby 4 4-5 12, Keima Bennett 5 1-2 11; TOTALS: 17 17-25 54; Three-point field goals: 3 (Charlie Jo Howard 2, Abbi Pack 1)
VALLEY 39 (2-5, 1-4 SOC II)
Brooklyn Buckle 1 6-8 8, Bre Call 3 4-6 10, Caitlin Kennard 1 2-2 5, Natalie Buckle 0 0-0 0, McKenna Dunham 0 0-0 0, Karsyn Conaway 1 4-6 7, Haley Whitt 1 2-2 4, Savannah Easter 0 0-0 0, Nichole Gilliland 1 1-2 3, MacKenzie Wright 1 0-0 2; TOTALS: 9 19-26 39; Three-point field goals: 2 (Karsyn Conaway and Caitlin Kennard 1 apiece)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved