McDERMOTT — Apparently, the Lady Mohawks wanted to get home in time to catch Ohio State’s high noon football drubbing of Michigan State on Saturday.
That’s because, in a matter of an hour and almost 10 minutes, host Northwest —with the benefit and advent of the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s running-clock rule for regular-season basketball games —needed only that much time to make short work of the young Clay Lady Panthers.
The Lady Mohawks pitched a pair of shutouts in quarters one and three, scored the opening 24 points, and played nothing more defensively than a half-court zone — as Northwest won 52-5 in Saturday’s season opener.
The Mohawk starters — featuring seniors Ava Jenkins, Reagan Lewis, Kloe Montgomery and Audrey Knittel and junior Faith Jewett —played the entire first and third frames, while the half-dozen substitutes saw all the minutes in cantos two and four.
Northwest won the first quarter with a 22-0 shutout, then blanked the Panthers 12-0 in the third period.
The Lady Mohawks won the second stanza 11-2, and finished off the fourth quarter with a 7-3 win.
For the game’s final 13 minutes and five seconds, following a Jenkins putback basket which made it 38-2, the newly-adopted OHSAA running-clock rule for regular-season contests took effect —as several seasons worth of tournament tilts have had that rule in place.
Northwest needed only a half-court 2-3 or 1-3-1 zone defense as well, as the tall and lengthy Lady Mohawks had 23 steals and 28 deflections —while grabbing 38 rebounds, including 22 offensive.
Northwest made 22 total field goals, including the final with only 38 seconds showing —which was the game’s only three-point goal and by Daria Compton from the wing.
Lewis led the scoring charge with five field goals for 10 points, followed by Jenkins with nine on four field goals and a split of foul shots.
Compton had eight on three baskets and a split of free throws, as Montgomery made two buckets and all three of her charity tosses towards seven points.
The defensive specialist Jenkins made off with nine steals and had five deflections along with Lewis —as she and Compton tallied three assists apiece.
Montgomery and Jewett pulled down six rebounds each, as Lewis, Jewett, Compton and Montgomery made two steals apiece —with Mollyann Runyon recording three takeaways.
Northwest coach Dave Frantz said Saturday was about working on defense, and turning turnovers into points, which will be the squad’s strength this season.
The Lady Mohawks held significant talent and experience advantages against the Panthers.
“For the past four or five years, we’ve been a really good defensive team, and that’s always been our point of emphasis. We ran about three different defenses today,” said Frantz. “But that’s what we were doing. We were working on us. Just different defenses against different sets. Ava Jenkins always plays good defense both on-ball and off-ball, and she led us again. She has the whole package. With our subs, those girls did a nice job adapting and playing hard as well.”
Four Lady Mohawks outscored Clay by themselves.
The Lady Panthers, playing only seven players on Saturday and without sole senior Kyleigh Oliver, played right into the Lady Mohawks’ hands —who played the passing lanes overly well.
Clay struggled with passing the basketball and even attempting shots, as it didn’t score until Morgan McCoy’s inside basket with a minute and four seconds gone by in the second quarter.
The Panthers are also performing without junior point guard Maggie Swayne, who is out injured for the season with a torn meniscus in her knee.
In addition, sole sophomore Cassidy Bazler left the game with a first-half injury —and didn’t return.
“Dave (Frantz) does a great job out here and has a solid program. They play really good defense, and we played four freshmen today, who are obviously inexperienced and were nervous starting out. It was a rough start for us, but Northwest is always solid,” said Clay first-year coach Drew Emnett. “They are athletic, they are long and Dave does an excellent job of preparing them. It just didn’t go our way today.”
Frantz has known the growing pains the Panthers are going through.
“Drew (Emnett) is playing with a very young team, but he coached the whole game and their kids played hard the whole game,” he said. “That’s what it takes to start building the program up. I’ve known Drew for many years, and I was proud of him for how he coached and his girls kept fighting and working.”
McCoy had all five Panther points — splitting a pair of free throws a minute into the fourth quarter and finally another inside basket with a minute-and-a-half to play.
Emnett said there will be brighter days ahead for his Lady Panthers —as they return to the road, and return to non-league action, on Saturday evening at Manchester.
Tipoff time is set for 6 p.m
“Our freshmen are playing a lot and this was their first game. They are not used to the speed of varsity basketball. They are going to get good game experience,” said Emnett. “I am happy that we competed and played hard the whole game. That’s one thing we need to have happen. Play hard every minute.”
And, for Frantz and the Lady Mohawks, that includes those Saturday morning tipoff times —even ahead of Ohio State football kickoffs at high noon.
“Tournament games sometimes start Saturday mornings at 10 or 11. When you step on the court, you have to be ready and be a competitor. It doesn’t matter what time of the day or who the opponent is,” said the coach. “It starts in your mind and goes with your body.”
The Lady Mohawks returned home, and opened Southern Ohio Conference Division II competition, on Monday night against Valley.
Clay 0 2 0 3— 5
Northwest 22 11 12 7 — 52
CLAY 5 (0-1)
Cassidy Bazler 0 0-0 0, Sarah Cassidy 0 0-2 0, Tori Covert 0 0-0 0, Lynsey Loop 0 0-0 0, Amadea Everman 0 0-0 0, Rylan Jenkins 0 0-0 0, Morgan McCoy 2 1-2 5; TOTALS 2 1-4 5; Three-point field goals: none
NORTHWEST 52 (1-0)
Kaylee Johnson 1 2-2 4, Karleigh South 1 0-0 2, Mollyann Runyon 1 0-0 2, Harley Rigsby 1 0-0 2, Daria Compton 3 1-2 8, Ava Jenkins 4 1-2 9, Faith Jewett 2 0-0 4, Reagan Lewis 5 0-0 10, Audrey Knittel 2 0-0 4, Hannah Jones 0 0-2 0, Kloe Montgomery 2 3-3 7; TOTALS 22 7-11 52; Three-point field goals: 1 (Daria Compton 1)
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved