SOUTH WEBSTER — For the Wheelersburg Lady Pirates, it’s a “Sweet 16” of a different kind.
That’s because the Lady Pirates, on Tuesday evening at South Webster High School, defeated the host Lady Jeeps 60-44 to complete Southern Ohio Conference Division II play undefeated at 16-0.
Sixteen up, and 16 down, for Wheelersburg in the SOC II.
This is actually the first season in which the now nine SOC II schools played 16 league games apiece, thanks to Eastern moving up to the bigger-school division from the smaller-school SOC I.
Hence, the Lady Pirates made history on Tuesday in more ways than one.
Wheelersburg is now 22-2 —with its only losses inside Ironton’s Conley Center against Ironton (Dec. 30 46-43) and Russell (Ky.) (Feb. 1 62-57) by a combined eight points.
South Webster, which celebrated Senior Night on Tuesday to complete its season, winds up with a final record of 12-11 —and 9-7 in the league.
The Lady Jeeps, impacted by illness and injuries down the stretch, are already eliminated from Division IV postseason tournament play.
Although, South Webster went toe-to-toe with Wheelersburg through the opening three quarters —trailing just 13-12 after the first, 30-29 at halftime, and only 43-38 following three frames.
But the Lady Pirates poured it on in the fourth period, scoring 17 points compared to only six for South Webster.
Wheelersburg was spearheaded in the closing canto by eight points from Kaylee Darnell, who went off for a game-high 22 on nine total field goals and 2-of-4 free throws.
Ellie Kallner converted 3-of-4 foul shots in the fourth, and the Lady Pirates got a key three-point play from freshman Macee Eaton.
All the Lady Jeeps could muster in the fourth was field goals by Bri Claxon and Rose Stephens and a pair of Stephens free throws.
In fact, those were the Lady Jeeps’ only free throws for the entire game, while Wheelersburg made only half of its 20 total attempts.
Both teams tallied four three-point goals, while Wheelersburg held a slim 19-15 advantage in two-point baskets.
Darnell dropped in seven deuces and two treys, while Kallner and Alaina Keeney —who contributed 10 and 12 points respectively —canned the club’s other two threes.
Keeney finished with five field goals, and added a free throw on an old-fashioned first-quarter three-point play.
Eaton added six points on two buckets and 2-of-3 foul shots, while fellow freshman Makenna Walker —on a basket and two first-quarter freebies — scored four.
Lauren Jolly and Lyndsay Heimbach in the fourth quarter, and Lani Irwin in the opening period, had a field goal apiece.
Claxon, on seven total field goals including a second-stanza three-pointer, paced the Lady Jeeps with 15 points.
She netted nine of her team-high 15 in the second quarter.
Stephens sank three baskets and Faith Maloney made four field goals for eight points apiece, while senior Kenzie Hornikel hit a pair of threes.
Liz Shupert splashed a two and a triple, while senior Baylee Cox —who suffered a torn ACL injury late in the regular-season and missed the Lady Jeeps’ sectional championship game —scored two first-quarter points to celebrate Senior Night.
It was the final game for South Webster seniors Stephens, Hornikel and Cox.
Wheelersburg, meanwhile, will play in the Division III district semifinals on Saturday at high noon at Waverly’s Downtown Arena — against seventh-seeded North Adams, which is now 20-4.
This will be the second-seeded Lady Pirates’ seventh consecutive appearance in the Division III district tournament.
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