LUCASVILLE — Consider this the contest in which Northwest went and shook off any rust.
As the Lady Mohawks begin what they hope is an extended Division III postseason tournament run, it’s ultra-important to remember that Thursday’s sectional semifinal tilt against Crooksville was Northwest’s first game — in three full weeks.
In just getting back out on the floor for game competition, but facing the understanding that they were a heavy favorite against the 28th-seeded Ceramics, the fifth-seeded Lady Mohawks doubled up Crooksville 46-23 inside Valley High School.
That’s right: it was Northwest’s first live game action in three weeks — its first showing in the entire month of February.
That’s because the Lady Mohawks, due to other Scioto County school districts closing and even Northwest Local Schools itself, fell victim to the recent flu epidemic — and thus had their final two Southern Ohio Conference Division II bouts be postponed.
In fact, they still need to make those up —against Minford on Monday night and against Waverly at a date yet to be determined.
Thursday’s game was the Lady Mohawks’ first since Jan. 29, when they rolled Sciotoville East in a non-league duel 70-17.
With its hardwood return, Northwest raised its record to 18-3 and —more importantly —advanced to Saturday’s sectional championship against a very familiar foe.
The Lady Mohawks meet the 12th-seeded Oak Hill Lady Oaks, which escaped their sectional semifinal on Thursday night with a narrow 52-50 triumph over 21st-seeded Meigs Eastern.
It will be the third, and final, matchup this season between the Lady Oaks and Northwest —as Northwest swept the regular-season series, albeit in close nailbiting fashion.
In the first game, at Oak Hill on Nov. 29, Northwest sophomore Reagan Lewis landed the game-winning shot with four seconds remaining —lifting the Lady Mohawks to a 46-45 victory, which turned out to be a positive tone-setter for the season.
Northwest then won over Oak Hill on the Mohawks’ home court in Roy Rogers country — a 36-30 defensive battle back on Jan. 9.
The sectional championship between the two, and the one that matters the most, will take place on Saturday at 2:45 p.m. at Valley High School.
The Lady Ceramics, with the loss, finish their season at 2-20.
Crooksville, an overwhelming underdog against the Lady Mohawks, held tight at the end of the first quarter — trailing just 8-4 on two baskets by leading scorer Grace Frame.
But the second stanza was indeed the difference, as Northwest outscored the Lady Ceramics 21-6 to lead 29-10 at halftime.
Keirah Potts, the sole senior for the Lady Mohawks, made all four of her free throws in the period —while Haidyn Wamsley canned a three-point goal.
Crooksville got a basket and a split of free throws from Frame, and 3-of-4 foul shots by McKenna Headley.
Northwest then won the third frame 8-7, as Headley had two baskets while Frame —once again —added another field goal and free throw.
The Mohawks made the double-up official with a 9-6 difference in the last quarter — as Crooksville had only a Lelila Kennedy two, a Madilyn Taylor three, and a Karley Hampton foul shot.
Valerie Copas — on five field goals and two fourth-quarter freebies — and Ava Jenkins, on six baskets, paced the Lady Mohawks and all scorers with a dozen points apiece.
Potts posted three first-half field goals towards 10 points, while Kloe Montgomery made a pair of baskets and Audrey Knittel a pair of third-quarter charity tosses.
Terah Webb, with one in the fourth, was the only other Lady Mohawk besides Wamsley with a three-pointer.
All 11 players on the Northwest roster played at least one quarter on Thursday.
Crooksville 4 6 7 6 — 23
Northwest 8 21 8 9 — 46
CROOKSVILLE 23 (2-20)
Kenzie Printz 0 0-0 0, Jasmine Dobbins 0 00-0 0, Lelila Kennedy 1 0-1 2, Ellie Ferguson 0 0-0 0, Grace Frame 4 2-8 10, Logyn Chamberlain 0 0-0 0, Riley McKenzie 0 0-0 0, Karley Hampton 0 1-2 1, Madilyn Taylor 1 0-0 3, McKenna Headley 2 3-4 7; TOTALS: 8 6-15 23; 3-point field goals: 1 (Madilyn Taylor 1)
NORTHWEST 46 (18-3)
Terah Webb 1 0-0 3, Valerie Copas 5 2-6 12, Harley Rigsby 0 0-0 0, Haidyn Wamsley 1 0-0 3, Daria Compton 0 0-0 0, Keirah Potts 3 4-4 10, Ava Jenkins 6 0-0 12, Faith Jewett 0 0-2 0, Reagan Lewis 0 0-0 0, Audrey Knittel 0 2-2 2, Kloe Montgomery 2 0-0 4; TOTALS: 20 8-14 46; 3-point field goals: 2 (Terah Webb and Haidyn Wamsley 1 apiece)
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