Lady Pirates pitch perfect regular season

Staff report

WAVERLY — The four state champions of Ohio girls basketball aren’t the only ones winning their final games this week.

The 2022 Division III Associated Press poll champions are too.

That’s because the Wheelersburg Lady Pirates, playing a mandated makeup matchup on Tuesday at Waverly with Southern Ohio Conference Division II marks at stake, posted a 59-29 runaway win —and thus captured the program’s first-ever undefeated regular season.

That’s correct, as Wheelersburg —wire-to-wire leaders of all seven Division III AP polls —won all 21 games of its 21 scheduled —including all 16 for the third season in a row in the SOC II.

With Eastern competing in the SOC II for the third straight season, and now 16 from 14 league contests taking place —the Lady Pirates are now 48-of-48 in their last three conference slates, as their amazing SOC II winning streak stretched to 60 games.

Already the outright SOC II champion, Wheelersburg won the league for the fourth year in a row —and for the seventh season in the last eight, and for the eighth time in the last 10.

They surpassed a trio of three-year league winning streaks —from 1981 thru 1983, from 2015 thru 2017, and from 2019 thru 2021.

Tuesday’s triumph also gave them an historic, and undefeated, regular season —as the Lady Pirates finished a stellar 24-1.

Wheelersburg’s lone loss was a week ago on Wednesday night — in the Division III regional semifinals to Union Local.

Waverly — which was fourth-place in the SOC II behind the Lady Pirates (16-0 SOC II), South Webster (12-4 SOC II) and West (12-4 SOC II) —won 16 of its 24 tilts, and ended up 10-6 in the league.

The Tigers tied the Lady Pirates in the first quarter at 8-8, before ‘Burg opened up a 30-16 halftime advantage.

The defensive-heavy Lady Pirates then led 45-22 following three frames —as the Lady Tigers tallied no more than eight points in any one quarter.

Wheelersburg only attempted two Grace Charles fourth-quarter free throws, which resulted in a split, but ‘Burg bombed away from three-point territory —making eight to the Lady Tigers’ three.

In fact, Waverly only had eight two-point goals —and was paced by Bailey Vulgamore’s 14 points on three first-half twos, two second-quarter threes, and 2-of-2 fourth-quarter free throws.

Waverly was 4-of-9 at the line, with all four makes in the final eight minutes.

Ten Lady Pirates scored —as senior and District 14 Coaches Association Division III Player of the Year Alaina Keeney amounted a game-high 16 points in her final game.

Keeney connected on four trifectas —as Makenna Walker added 10 points (two threes), Madison Whittaker netted nine (one three), and Lexie Rucker recorded seven (one three).

Lyndsay Heimbach had six points in her final Lady Pirate appearance — as she, Keeney, Mika Jones and Isabella Hamilton are the four Wheelersburg seniors.

Hamilton, Jocelyn Tilley and Gracie Perkins all had baskets in the fourth —while Kiera Kennard made two in the first half.

Kelli Stewart and Sarah Thompson, on two field goals and a split of fourth-quarter foul shots apiece, each scored five points for Waverly —while Ava Little landed a fourth-quarter trey and Caris Risner a third-period deuce.

Little, Thompson and Delaney Tackett were Waverly’s trio of seniors.

Staff report

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved