WAVERLY – The Wheelersburg Lady Pirates will have an opportunity to win a district championship next Saturday, after they defeated the Eastern Brown Lady Warriors Saturday afternoon at the old Waverly High School gymnasium. Never trailing, Wheelersburg rolled on to a win in the district semi-final round.
As the Lady Pirates jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the opening minutes of the contest, Wheelersburg would continue to control the pace of the game, defeating the Eastern Brown Lady Warriors 38-27.
“I know the score wasn’t a high scoring game, but I’ve already said it three times, but that was one of the better basketball games we’ve been a part of this year,” Wheelersburg coach Dusty Spradlin said.
One of the things that made the game so great according to Spradlin was the game being so contested.
“Both teams really are committed to sitting down and guarding people,” Spradlin said. “Both teams that have some length, and both teams can rebound. I mean nothing came easy; nothing came easy for either team.”
The game wasn’t as packed with scoring as other games Wheelersburg has had this season, part of which came from several missed shots.
“I know we didn’t shoot the ball well, but they didn’t shoot the ball that well either,” Spradlin said. “It was just that good defensively, and I know their coach would have his kids ready.”
Spradlin told his squad Eastern Brown was one of the better coached teams in the district, and they would be ready to play.
“He had his kids ready, and they did some nice things, and a lot of what we have done,” Spradlin said. “We try to make things tough and then when the shot goes up you try to rebound, and then go for a quality shot. That’s what it was, to a lot of people, it was probably my goodness the offense was terrible, but it was really that the defense was that good.”
Spradlin said his girls were locked in on defense throughout the game, which was one of the determining factors for Wheelersburg’s win over Eastern Brown.
“Our kids did just a fabulous job listening to us and getting through some of their screens, and trying to force them off the perimeter,” Spradlin said. “We gave up a couple threes, but it was like we told them all week during practice, they’re going to make some shots. They’ve won a lot of games.”
In the end, it was just that Wheelersburg was able to make a few more plays down the stretch both on offense and defense.
Ellie Ruby and Sydney Holden played great on defense throughout the game, even when Eastern Brown attempted a few comebacks.
“Those two have been in a lot of games for us,” Spradlin said. “When we took that one timeout we tried to remind them to not worry about what has already happened. The only thing that matters is the next play. We can’t really focus on whether maybe we should have had a foul called or maybe this happened and I missed a shot, whatever. You can’t focus on those things because the next play is just so important.”
Spradlin said his team did a fabulous job Saturday afternoon, and hopes they are able to improve and make more shots next Saturday when they take on Albany Alexander in the District Finals.
“I told them not to let anyone tell them they played bad, because we played a good team with great defense, and we played great defense,” Spradlin said. “We came out on top, we just made a few more plays.”
After having a chance to see Albany Alexander play, Spradlin knows that their game against the Lady Spartans will be tough.
“They have great guard play,” Spradlin said. “They do a nice job in guarding and forcing the issue.”
Spradlin is just happy his team is still playing.
“We’re just going to have to be ready for anything,” Spradlin said. “I think our kids will come out and be excited to play.
“If we come out and guard like we did today and we rebound a little bit better, then I like our chances. But, at this point it’s whoever shows up and plays the best that day. That’s what matters most.”
Wheelersburg – Ruby 3-4-12, Holden 1-8-10, Akers 4-2-10, Coleman 2-1-5, Salyers 0-1-1
Eastern Brown – Fultz 2-0-6, Broughton 1-2-5, Day 2-1-5, Prine 2-0-4, Sowers 0-3-3, Reynolds 1-0-2, Farris 0-2-2
Three-point field goals – Wheelersburg 2 (Ruby 2) Eastern Brown 3 (Fultz 2, Broughton)
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.