LUCASVILLE — The Wheelersburg Lady Pirates defeated the Valley Indians Thursday night by a score of 55-46. The game was very competitive going into halftime with both offenses featuring their star players; Sydney Holden for Wheelersburg and Kamryn Conaway for Valley. Wheelersburg managed to come out firing on all cylinders in the second half, despite the frigid temperatures within Valley’s gymnasium thanks to a malfunctioning heating unit.
The Lady Indians had trouble with Wheelersburg’s press early. After a few plays, however, they adjusted. Conaway found consistent double teams on the offensive end, and on the defensive end they had problems keeping Holden in check. She had eight first quarter points, but despite that, Valley led after one by a score of 13-12.
Valley put in Hannah Conley during the second quarter. Conley combined with Conaway appeared to bother the Pirates in the paint. Valley outrebounded them heavily with the two on the floor and Conaway found a way to start scoring. She had eight points herself in the quarter, and the score would be tied at 26 by halftime.
Starting in the third Valley had three straight turnovers on three straight possessions. The Pirates went on an 8-0 run during this time. The Indians managed to somewhat regain their bearings but had problems with turnovers the rest of the game, with 18 of their 27 coming in the second half. Starting the fourth quarter, Valley went on a run themselves going 5-0 to start the period. The Pirate lead was cut to just three points, 43-40.
Wheelersburg tightened up again, going on a 12-2 run during the next minutes that would seal the game for them, with the final score being 55-46. They had two players both score in double digits from off the bench, Laiken Salyers with 10 and Abbie Kallner with 12. Leading all scorers was Sydney Holden with 20.
For Valley, Conaway led in scoring with 16. Megan Duduit and Maddie Wright both had 10. Head Coach Mark Merrit was pleased with his girls’ effort on the night despite a sloppy second half.
“We did a nice job competing with Wheelersburg tonight,” said Merrit. “Obviously what killed us was our turnovers. We handled their full court press and their man defense but we were just sloppy with the ball. You don’t beat Wheelersburg with 27 turnovers. Holden scored well for them too, and we lost her and gave her open shots defensively at times. But I don’t think you can hold her down the best you can do is try to contain her.”
“We told them at halftime that Wheelersburg was going to come out fired up. We had some young girls on the floor tonight, and it’s hard to maintain against that kind of pressure. I’m really proud of them though, they played hard and we will get those mistakes cleared up. Kamryn did a great job tonight, she knows she’s going to get doubled and she looks to pass when she can. We just have to clean it up and take care of the ball.”
Valley hosts the West Senators Monday. Tipoff is at 7:30.
Pirate Head Coach Dusty Spradlin had nothing but good things to say about the Indian squad they faced.
“We were sluggish and Valley managed to jump out,” said Spradlin. “We found ourselves down, got into some foul trouble and all of a sudden our rotations were messed up. Give them a ton of credit, they came out and made shots and forced us into some bad shots. What they really did tonight against us was rebound the ball. There were possessions tonight where Valley had three shot attempts on a single trip.”
“The good news for us is that we made some shots. There were stretches where we were really good. Laiken had 10 points and Abby had 12 off the bench. Makayla Akers scored eight of her ten points in the second half. So we played really well in the second half. But Mark’s kids did a terrific job at hitting shots when they needed to and battling the entire night. They played harder than we did early, but we executed better as the game went on.”
“Tonight, we get to say we walk out with a win. Like I told the girls, its not perfect but we will take a win on the road. We have to make sure that we come into practice with more focus and doing the little things right. This game is so much more than just scoring, it’s little things. And I felt like we didn’t do enough of the little things tonight. Hopefully we will get tomorrow and correct some of those things.”
Wheelersburg Hosts the South Webster Jeeps Monday. Game time is at 7:30 p.m..
Wheelersburg 12 14 17 12 — 55
Valley 13 13 9 11 — 46
Valley: Conaway 16, Duduit 10, Wright 10, Conley 5, Hickerson 5
Wheelersburg: Holden 20, Kallner 12, Salyers 10, Akers 10, Coleman 2, Ruby 1
Reach Derrick Parker at email@example.com or on twitter @DC__Parker