SOUTH WEBSTER — Clax-on, Clax-off.
During Saturday’s Southern Ohio Conference Division II makeup game between the South Webster Lady Jeeps and visiting Eastern, junior guard Bri Claxon was rarely “off”.
Instead, Claxon channeled her inner Ralph Macchio — and chopped her way into breaking the SW single-game scoring record with a 43-point performance in the Lady Jeeps’ final regular-season home game of the 2020-21 season.
That same single-game scoring record was held by 2010 graduate Kayla Cook, who had previously scored 39 points in a game during her SW career.
From the time the game started against the Lady Eagles — a program itself familiar with impressive individual performances by the likes of Marlene Stollings and Carson Roney — both Claxon and head coach Ryan Dutiel could tell it had the chance to be a special night inside the SWHS gymnasium.
And, how right they were.
“Before the game even started I was super excited to play because we just got out of quarantine, and then the weather didn’t allow us to play or even practice much, so I was just happy to finally get to play,” Claxon said. “In warmups I was shooting pretty good, and whenever I shoot good in warmups, I’m more confident that I’ll be on in the game. I came out and made my first shot which is always good to get that confidence, and I just kept making shots.”
“From the start of the game Bri was on. She hit her first six shots and two of those were three-pointers, only missed five shots all night and she shot like 23 times,” Dutiel said. “I think the rest of the team knew she was hot so they looked for her when they got a steal or opportunity to push it up the floor.”
After setting her previous career-high of 37 points in an overtime win over Jackson earlier this season, Claxon needed just 32 minutes to post her new career-best mark in Saturday’s win.
The junior Lady Jeep scored 17 in the first quarter, seven in the second, nine in the third, and 10 more in the fourth on 18 total made field goals and just two free throws — setting the new standard single-game record for most points in a game by an SW player.
And, SW still managed to put another scorer in double figures — freshman Bella Claxon, who scored 11 on four makes and a pair of free throws.
The Claxon sisters combined for each of the Lady Jeeps’ six long-range makes in the win, with Bri knocking down each of her five during the first three quarters.
“I think it’s the best shooting game I’ve had in terms of three-pointers,” Bri said. “My teammates also helped me out with getting me open and getting steals so I could get out and run the floor.”
“Bri is a terrific player, and she has grown so much since she came in as a freshman,” Dutiel said. “Her love of the game shows with her dedication and focus coming into every game.”
The No. 5-seed Lady Jeeps are set to begin their upcoming postseason run in the Division IV sectional/district tournaments this Saturday (Feb. 20) — with a home sectional championship game versus No. 12-seed New Boston.
Tipoff time is set for 7 p.m.
Both Claxon and Dutiel acknowledged they’re excited for the upcoming challenges that postseason basketball brings.
A win over New Boston would give the Lady Jeeps their first sectional title since the 2016-17 season and first since Dutiel, now in his third season, took over the reigns of the program.
“They are going to be a good test for us,” Dutiel said, of facing the Lady Tigers. “Coach (Kayla) Wiley does a great job with her team and we are excited to play them. Like every team, we want to make a deep run in the tournament. Our team always plays a brutal league schedule in SOC II where having an off night is disastrous. We only have one senior, Liz Shupert, who we are going to miss once our tournament run ends. With everyone else coming back, each tournament game we play together is going to help us with valuable game experience for next season.”
“If we keep all our players on the floor and we are hitting and playing together as a team, I have no doubt that we will be successful,” Claxon said. “There are some very good teams we will have to play, but it’ll be good for us. We need to be challenged so we can show people what we can do.”
The Lady Jeeps also have a pair of SOC II makeup games they’ll play before the end of the season — road trips to Oak Hill and Wheelersburg to face the Lady Oaks and Lady Pirates, respectively.
* * *
Eastern 17 6 15 8 — 46
S. Webster 21 15 16 12 — 64
EASTERN 46 (1-15, 0-14 SOC II)
Skylar White 3 2-2 8, Kelsey Helphinstine 1 0-0 2, Addison Cochenour 2 2-3 6, Abby Cochenour 8 0-0 18, Madison Shuler 0 0-0 0, Andee Lester 5 2-4 12; TOTALS 19 6-9 46; Three-point field goals: 2 (Abby Cochenour 2)
SOUTH WEBSTER 64 (12-7, 8-6 SOC II)
Faith Maloney 3 0-0 6, Liz Shupert 1 0-0 2, Alivia Haynes 0 0-0 0, Brooklyn Blanton 0 0-0 0, Grace Baker 0 0-0 0, Bri Claxon 18 2-2 43, Kerith Wright 0 0-0 0, Skylar Zimmerman 1 0-2 2, Riley Raynard 0 0-0 0, Kennedy Murphy 0 0-0 0, Bella Claxon 4 2-2 11; TOTALS 27 4-6 64; Three-point field goals: 6 (Bri Claxon 5, Bella Claxon 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