WELLSTON — The good news for the East Lady Tartans on Monday night was that they played better in the second half.
Unfortunately for the Lady Tartans, the not-so good news was that they trailed 23-5 at halftime.
As a result, the young 2020 East team lost to the Southern Lady Tornadoes 47-21 in a Division IV sectional semifinal at Wellston High School.
With the loss, and with their season officially ending on Tuesday evening in a Southern Ohio Conference Division I makeup matchup at Clay, the Lady Tartans —the 19th-seeded squad out of 20 in the first-ever Division IV Southeast District super-sectional — fell to 1-21.
They won against fellow one-win Whiteoak by making eight three-point goals and scoring a season-high 70 points, and would have needed a similar superior performance in order to defeat the 14th-seeded Lady Tornadoes.
It didn’t happen, as the Tartans — playing just seven in the rotation — turned the ball over too much and missed too many first-half shots.
In fact, after East’s Mia Caldwell split a pair of free throws 54 seconds in, the Lady Tornadoes scored the next 11 points —before Peyton Johnson posted the Lady Tartans’ first field goal at the 2:15 mark of the opening quarter.
East’s only other first-half points: Felicia Smith scoring a two-pointer at the 4:12 mark of the second stanza.
The Lady Tartans trailed 13-3 after the first quarter and 23-5 at halftime, and although they scored eight points in each of the final two periods — Southern only extended its advantage to as large as 28 three times (43-15, 45-17 and 47-19).
“We had to make shots and limit our turnovers and I thought the big key for us was defensive rebounding. I didn’t think we did a great job of it in the first half, but I thought we did a lot better job second half. Southern has a quick and a long team,” said East coach Matt Miller.
The Lady Tornadoes, which improved to 5-18, have three seniors —including Phoenix Cleland, who scored Southern’s first four points on free throws.
She went 5-of-6 at the line and added four field goals for 13 points, as sophomore Kayla Evans —who made the Tornadoes’ first field goal off a steal —amounted a game-high 16 points on six total field goals and 3-of-4 second-quarter foul shots.
Her three-pointer, the only one for the Meigs Countians, made it 11-1.
A junior, Jordan Hardwick, had eight points on three buckets and 2-of-4 freebies.
In East’s second half, Caldwell and Smith scored baskets in the third frame, as Grace Smith scored a dozen points on four field goals and 4-of-6 free throws.
Miller was glad to see his Lady Tartans continue to try all the way to the end.
“I’m disappointed in the loss, but I’m definitely not disappointed in my ladies’ effort. I told them how proud I was of them and I thanked them,” he said. “There’s nobody out in that gym that can say our ladies didn’t play hard.”
East only graduates one senior —Shayla Rosenogle — as Miller said he has presumably 10 players returning next season, which should be joined by between four-to-six others, either newcomers or moveups from the junior-high level.
“Shayla (Rosenogle) has been such a joy this year just the leader she has been. She is only 5-4 and doesn’t score a whole lot, but she’ll have seven or eight rebounds and make steals and hustle plays. Doesn’t complain about it,” said the coach. “Next year, our numbers will be up and we’ll get in the gym this summer when we’re allowed to and really work at it. I think the girls are excited, because even though we’re 1-21 now, we’ve improved dramatically and they are having fun and working hard. I think the future is going to be bright.”
* * *
East 3 2 8 8 — 21
Southern 13 10 10 14— 47
EAST 21 (1-21)
Peyton Johnson 1 0-0 2, Shayla Rosenogle 0 0-0 0, Journey Pelfrey 0 0-0 0, Felicia Smith 2 0-0 4, Brooklyn Price 0 0-1 0, Grace Smith 4 4-6 12, Mia Caldwell 1 1-2 3; TOTALS 8 5-9 21; Three-point goals: none
SOUTHERN 47 (5-18)
Phoenix Cleland 4 5-6 13, Shelby Cleland 2 0-0 4, Baylee Wolfe 1 0-0 2, Jordan Hardwick 3 2-4 8, Kelly Shaver 2 0-0 4, Kayla Evans 6 3-4 16, Ella Cooper 0 0-0 0, Sara Kaposzta 0 0-0 0, Hanna Smith 0 0-0 0, Lily Allen 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 18 10-14 47; Three-point goals: 1 (Kayla Evans 1)
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved