MCDERMOTT — If surviving and advancing is the name of the game, New Boston managed both on Saturday — avoiding an upset from the No. 11-seeded Lady Flyers in the process.
It took a full game’s effort to get there, thanks to the challenge Ironton St. Joe presented, but the No. 6-seed New Boston Lady Tigers persevered — and as a result are Division IV sectional champions following their 33-32 win over their Southern Ohio Conference Division I rival at Northwest High School.
After a brief one-year drought following back-to-back sectional championships during the ‘16-17 and ‘17-‘18 seasons, the Lady Tigers are heading back to the Division IV district tournament next week at Jackson High School.
“For this group of seniors, they’ve won three out of four sectional championships during their high school career, so I know this means a lot to them,” New Boston coach Kayla Wiley said following the one-point win. “Getting back to the district tournament was one of our goals at the beginning of the season, hopefully we can execute better on the offensive end when we get there.”
Saturday’s sectional final was the closest of New Boston’s three wins over the Lady Flyers this season — and by far the most nerve-wracking.
Late in the third quarter, senior Sammy Oiler scored to give the Lady Tigers a 30-20 lead — as New Boston was well on its way to a comfortable sectional win after outscoring the Lady Flyers by a combined 32 points during their previous two meetings.
However, the proverbial ‘lid over the rim’ came to nearly bite New Boston, as the Lady Tigers managed just one field goal during the fourth quarter — a three from Lexus Oiler with 2:10 left, breaking the 30-30 tie the Lady Flyers had managed after five consecutive field-goal makes.
Ironton St. Joe’s Bella Whaley scored but missed the free-throw on an and-one with just over a minute left, cutting New Boston’s lead to 33-32.
Both teams would trade possession and free-throw misses during the final minute — before Whaley heaved a 30-foot game winner that didn’t connect, crowning the Lady Tigers as sectional champs for the first time in two years as Wiley and the New Boston faithful exhaled a massive sigh of relief.
“We felt like defensively we did a pretty good job of sitting down and guarding them, offensively I think we took some threes that were falling earlier in the game that didn’t late for whatever reason,” Wiley said. “Hats off to St. Joe, they made it really tough on us and did a great job of making it a game.”
New Boston senior Lexus Oiler led all scorers with a game-high 15 points, while Kenzie Whitley scored 10 — eight of which came during the first half as New Boston established its lead.
Whaley led the Lady Flyers with a team-high 14 points, with nine coming in the second half, as Faith Mahlmeister scored 11 with six coming in the second half.
Each of Emma Whaley’s six points came in the first quarter as the Lady Flyers trailed New Boston 13-8.
New Boston will head to Jackson High School on Saturday, Feb. 22 for a Division IV district semifinal versus No. 3-seed Trimble — 68-46 winners over Southern in its own Division IV sectional final on Saturday.
“We’re going to keep working on our ball movement, look to implement and work on our zone defense,” Wiley said of what the Lady Tigers’ week of preparation for Trimble will look like. “Hopefully we’re able to reach the district finals if we play how we can — we’ve got to keep the mindset that we’re going out and fighting to play another day each time we take the court.”
Ironton St. Joe 8 8 6 10 — 32
New Boston 13 8 9 3 — 33
IRONTON ST. JOSEPH 32 (11-12)
Kaitlyn Sheridan 0 0-0 0, Faith Mahlmeister 5 1-2 11, Emma Whaley 2 0-0 6, Bella Whaley 6 0-1 14, Chloe Sheridan 0 1-2 1, Gracie Damron 0 0-0 0, A. Sutton 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 13 2-5 32; Three-point field goals: 4 (Emma Whaley and Bella Whaley 2 apiece)
NEW BOSTON 33 (15-8)
Shelby Easter 1 0-0 2, Taylen Hickman 0 0-2 0, Lexus Oiler 6 0-0 15, Sammy Oiler 2 0-0 5, Dylan O’Rourke 0 1-2 1, Kenzie Whitley 4 2-2 10, Cadence Williams 0 0-0 0; TOTALS: 13 3-6 33; Three-point field goals: 4 (Lexus Oiler 3, Sammy Oiler 1)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved