OAK HILL — The Lady Mohawks may have been undermanned on Thursday, and that’s usually not a good go-ahead entering any affair against the Oak Hill Lady Oaks.
Don’t tell that to Northwest, though, as these Lady Mohawks — especially in the second quarter — had their way with host Oak Hill.
That’s because, by outscoring the Lady Oaks 19-7 in the second stanza, Northwest staked a 27-14 halftime advantage —and went on to play the second half to an 18-18 tie en route to a critical 45-32 Southern Ohio Conference Division II victory inside The Nuthouse.
And, because the Lady Mohawks had their way on Thursday, they continue —over the past 14 months — to have Oak Hill’s number.
The two have faced off five times since Black Friday of 2019, as Northwest —now at 8-2 and in outright second-place in the SOC II at 5-1 — has twice swept the regular-season series.
Three weeks ago today (Dec. 19), the Mohawks edged the Lady Oaks 47-40 in overtime —just their latest in the series of close encounters.
Northwest won at Oak Hill last season 46-45 on a Reagan Lewis shot with four seconds remaining, as the previous three scores before Thursday’s result were either by six or seven points.
So for the Lady Mohawks to win at Oak Hill AGAIN —and even lead by as much as 15 at 35-20 and 41-26 — is a big deal.
The Lady Oaks, under longtime and legendary head coach Doug Hale and with three Division III state runner-up (2004, 2009 and 2011) banners hanging in the gymnasium, aren’t swept in a season series too many times.
“This doesn’t happen too much. I told the girls they don’t realize how big it is to come up here and win. Oak Hill has a great program and Doug (Hale) is one of the best coaches around,” said Northwest coach Dave Frantz. “The girls gave us great effort all four quarters. We took the lead in the second quarter, but we didn’t get complacent with it in the second half.”
Frantz further stated that Thursday’s bout was his Lady Mohawks’ “best game” on both ends of the floor.
They played just seven players as Audrey Knittel did not dress, and overcame first-quarter foul trouble by Kloe Montgomery —who picked up two quick ones after her 22-rebound effort against Minford on Monday night.
But they got the Lady Oaks’ top two players —Chloe Chambers and Olivia Clarkson —in first-half foul trouble, as the 6-2 junior Chambers was stymied to just four points on two second-half field goals.
Clarkson scored just six, including a third-quarter three-pointer.
Against Minford, Northwest held the Lady Falcons to 30 points, but shot just 18-percent from the field — and avoided an upset by winning 32-30.
Against Oak Hill, the Lady Oaks didn’t score until the 3:08 mark of the first quarter —and never hit double digits in scoring in any of the four frames.
The coach said a key was Northwest’s defense on Chambers, as Montgomery fronted her while Valerie Copas came over to help on the back end.
“We pride ourselves on our defense, and we did so many good things tonight defending them, but tonight we also hit our shots starting second quarter,” said Frantz. “This was our most complete game we’ve had. Everybody which stepped on the court contributed big. Valerie (Copas) won’t appear in the stats on defense, but her backside help on Chambers was excellent. Then when Kloe (Montgomery) got in foul trouble, Faith Jewett came in and we didn’t lose a step. She got some big boards and some blocks.”
Copas wasn’t bad on offense either, as she scored 17 points on five field goals and 7-of-12 free throws, including 4-of-6 freebies in the opening quarter and 3-of-5 for the entire second half.
She scored to give Northwest an 8-7 edge at the first stop, as fellow senior Haidyn Wamsley then took over from there — hitting four second-stanza triples book-ended around one via Ava Jenkins.
Wamsley’s first trifecta put the Mohawks in front for good at 13-12, as her others upped the score to 16-12, 24-14 and finally 27-14.
Wamsley, the all-Southeast District Division III first-teamer of a year ago, went off for game-high 21 points on seven total field goals and 3-of-6 fourth-quarter foul shots.
Her only deuce of the second period provided the only tie at 10-10.
“Haidyn Wamsley was hitting tonight especially in the second quarter and so did Val (Copas), but I thought we played such an unselfish offensive game,” said Frantz. “We shared the ball around so well. It was a team effort and I can’t isolate on one kid of the seven which played tonight.”
Lewis landed a first-quarter basket and Montgomery made 2-of-4 second-half free throws to round out the scoring.
In the second half, the Lady Mohawks’ lead only dipped to single digits once (27-18 with 5:35 in third quarter) — as Northwest went up 35-20 with 1:11 remaining in the third on a split of Copas free throws.
Baylee Howell, who had 10 points to pace Oak Hill, hit two fourth-quarter free throws for a 36-26 deficit with six minutes to play — following Clarkson canning her three and splitting two tosses.
But with Northwest in the bonus free-throw situation, the Mohawks managed a dozen attempts in the fourth quarter —and meshed a half-dozen.
They were 12-of-22 for the entire game, and tried their final 10 inside the final 5:48.
With four-and-a-half minutes remaining, they held a 41-26 advantage that never got below 12 points again.
Besides Howell’s 10, Clarkson’s six and Chambers’ four, Tamron McCain and Brooke Howard had three baskets apiece for six points.
Oak Hill held leads of 7-6 and 10-8 on a pair of Howell three-pointers, and took a 12-10 advantage on Clarkson’s two.
From there, though, over the final 20 minutes and five seconds to be exact, Northwest outscored Oak Hill 35-20.
Indeed, the Lady Mohawks had their way on Thursday.
The importance of the league win won’t be understated as well, as Northwest —with an SOC II makeup matchup against Waverly (3-2 SOC II) at noon on Saturday —remains the lone division squad with one loss.
Wheelersburg remains the SOC II leader with a 5-0 mark.
“We handled the pressure well, and we held them to 32 points. If you hold a team like Oak Hill to 32 points, you better win,” said Frantz. “It was a complete game for us, a very big league win and I’m very proud of the girls.”
* * *
Northwest 8 19 8 10— 45
Oak Hill 7 7 9 9 — 32
NORTHWEST 45 (8-2, 5-1 SOC II)
Terah Webb 0 0-0 0, Valerie Copas 5 7-12 17, Haidyn Wamsley 7 3-6 21, Ava Jenkins 1 0-0 3, Faith Jewett 0 0-0 0, Reagan Lewis 1 0-0 2, Kloe Montgomery 0 2-4 2; TOTALS 14 12-22 45; Three-point field goals: 5 (Haidyn Wamsley 4, Ava Jenkins 1)
OAK HILL 32 (6-4, 5-3 SOC II)
Baylee Howell 2 4-4 10, Tamron McCain 3 0-0 6, Chloe Chambers 2 0-2 4, Brooke Howard 3 0-0 6, Jordan Howard 0 0-0 0, Kyla Simmonds 0 0-0 0, Olivia Clarkson 3 1-2 6, Emily Doss 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 12 5-8 32; Three-point field goals: 3 (Baylee Howell 2, Olivia Clarkson 1)
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved