MINFORD — Simply put, Minford made visiting Valley well aware — or just reminded the young Lady Indians — that basketball is indeed still a four-quarter game.
Not one, not two, and not three.
Thus, spearheaded by scoring all 17 of their second-stanza points in consecutive fashion, the Lady Falcons flew past the Indians and earned the season sweep —as Minford muscled its way with a 43-30 victory on Thursday night inside the Falcons’ Nest at Minford High School.
With the win, the Falcons forged their second such in their past three games —moving to 4-11 and 3-9 in the Southern Ohio Conference Division II.
The loss left Valley, victors over the Lady Falcons in December for its lone league win so far, at 2-9 and 1-9 in the division.
However, take away Thursday’s second quarter —and we’re potentially left with a two-possession, perhaps even one, contest.
But between the 7:22 mark of the period until only 56 seconds stood —the Falcons took flight for all 17 of their points, erasing an 11-9 deficit and eventually ballooning a lead to as large as 26-11 with 67 seconds to play.
In the second half, McKenna Dunham’s old-fashioned three-point play for the Lady Indians reduced the deficit to 26-16 only a minute-and-a-half in —but Valley crept no closer the remainder of the way.
Instead, the Falcons forged a 41-24 advantage with only 1:53 remaining —as senior standout Livi Shonkwiler secured a double-figures night with her 10th, 11th and 12th points on her final field goal and free throw.
But circle back to the second quarter —for that was the definite difference.
And, Minford coach Shane Davis knew it, too.
“I thought we really cranked it up defensively in the second quarter. They hit a couple of threes on us at the start, but we just guarded really hard and pressured the ball. We got to the foul line by attacking the rim, spreading them out and making them guard in space,” said Davis. “Our girls did a good job taking the ball to the rim.”
Shonkwiler especially, as she scored her team-high dozen points on five field goals and attempted six free throws.
Minford made 14 two-point goals, shot 27 free throws and meshed 15, and did not make a single three-pointer.
The Lady Falcons had 11 second-period points at the line —on 14 tries.
No worries, though, said Davis.
“We had more points at the foul line tonight than we have all year. But we’ve focusing on that in practice,” said the coach. “We look at the end of the game at that foul-shot differential. When we go to the basket, we shouldn’t shy away from contact. We attacked the basket quite a bit tonight with Livi (Shonkwiler) and Kynedi (Davis), and shot really well at the line that second quarter.”
As the Indians erased a 9-5 deficit with their only three-pointers —back-to-back makes by Madison Montgomery and Lexie Morrow for an 11-9 edge — their second and last leads would indeed be short-lived.
The scorer Shonkwiler, after four first-quarter points on two baskets, put the Lady Falcons in front 15-11 on back-to-back buckets — after Carly Thoroughman tied the tilt (11-11) for the fourth time on two foul shots.
That was just the beginning of Minford’s parade to the charity stripe, as the Indians put the hosts into the one-and-one bonus situation —with still five minutes and eight seconds left in the second quarter.
Coach Davis’ daughter, freshman Kynedi Davis, drained a pair to make it 17-11 —as Bella Reffit with 4-of 6, Ally Coriell with two and Shonkwiler with a split all accounted for some of the 17 points in a row.
Addy Akers added a rebound putback bucket, increasing the lead to 24-11 with 95 seconds to play.
Valley first-year head coach Tyson Phillips said his Lady Indians didn’t defend properly, playing with their hands and arms instead of their feet.
“It was just us being out of position on defense,” he said. “We started reaching and hacking instead of moving our feet and being in proper position. I think they scored 11 points from the free-throw line that second quarter. When you hold a team to only three field goals in a quarter, that’s pretty good. But when they score 11 points off free throws, that’s ridiculous. We were just out of position. You have to play defense with your feet. We were grabbing and reaching instead.”
Coriell’s two tosses completed the 17-point barrage, as Valley’s Bella Fultz —with a free throw with 56 seconds showing —ended the epic drought.
Davis dropped in nine points on two field goals and 5-of-10 foul shots, as Reffit added eight points.
Coriell and Micah Thacker each had four points by combining for three field goals, including both of Thacker’s in the second half.
Valley’s Montgomery, on five total field goals including four through the opening three quarters and 6-of-6 fourth-frame foul shots, made it game-high honors with 17 points.
She scored all eight of the Indians’ fourth-period markers, as the closest Valley got in the final quarter was 41-30.
Minford’s Sadie Hatfield hit the final bucket for the 43-30 final, as the next-nearest Indian to Montgomery was Dunham with six points.
The Indians, which actually spent the opening half of the past week with preparation for two tilts against Eastern, made for the Minford moveup to Thursday because the Eagles entered a coronavirus quarantine on Monday.
Valley isn’t too far removed from a quarantine itself, as Phillips said his youthful charges can only continue to work and improve.
“We weren’t really preparing for one particular opponent. We’re still working on ourselves. And it’s been hard with the quarantines to develop continuity with a young and inexperienced group. But our offensive execution has to get better. I just thought we played out of control tonight,” he said. “I saw some things on the offensive end that we did that we don’t work on in practice. So we just have to continue to work and get better and clean a lot of things up.”
The Indians are off until Wednesday — when they will host Waverly in an SOC II makeup matchup.
Meanwhile, Minford —after playing Leesburg Fairfield on Saturday in the Southwest-Southeast Challenge at Eastern Brown — travels to league-leader Wheelersburg on Monday night.
Being one of the few teams around with 15 games gone by, Coach Davis said he believes his Lady Falcons are starting to play better — beginning at the right time too.
“We’re progressing and getting better, and at times, we’ve been able to hang in there and play teams tough,” he said. “We’re overcoming some of these injuries and numbers that got us early on, we’ve stayed pretty positive and we’ve had some close battles that we just haven’t been able to finish this year. We really have played teams tough to this point.”
* * *
Valley 5 7 10 8 — 30
Minford 9 17 9 8— 43
VALLEY 30 (2-9, 1-9 SOC II)
Natalie Buckle 1 0-0 2, Lucie Ashkettle 0 0-2 0, Emilee Johnson 0 0-0 0, McKenna Dunham 2 2-3 6, Haley Whitt 0 1-2 1, Lexie Morrow 1 0-0 3, Adalyn Conaway 0 0-0 0, Savanah Easter 0 0-0 0, Rylee Johnson 0 0-0 0, Madison Montgomery 5 6-10 17, Caitlin Kennard 0 0-0 0, Bella Fultz 0 1-1 1; TOTALS 9 10-18 30; Three-point field goals: 2 (Lexie Morrow and Madison Montgomery 1 apiece)
MINFORD 43 (4-11, 3-9 SOC II)
Bella Reffit 2 4-6 8, Kynedi Davis 2 5-10 9, Ally Coriell 1 2-2 4, Sadie Hatfield 1 0-0 2, Kendall Carver 0 0-0 0, Livi Shonkwiler 5 2-6 12, Autumn Picklesimer 0 0-0 0, Addy Akers 1 0-0 2, Micah Thacker 2 0-0 4, Carly Thoroughman 0 2-3 2; TOTALS 14 15-27 43; Three-point field goals: none
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved