GREENVILLE – No one ever wants to lose, but when you play as well as the Greenville Lady Wave did on Saturday against highly-rated Trotwood-Madison, you walk away knowing you can learn from it and keep moving forward.
“With where we have been and all the adversity we have faced this season I can handle this loss. As a team we can really handle this loss,” Greenville coach Rachel Kerns said after the Rams earned a 55-45 win in the Greenville gym. “There are a lot of positives to take away from this. The good part is I don’t think there is anyone left on our schedule that brings what Trotwood brings and if we can handle the intensity and pressure they played with … yes we had some errors but there isn’t anybody left on our schedule that we can’t compete with.”
Despite trailing by double digits midway in the third quarter, Greenville continued to battle and slowly trimmed the Rams’ lead. With 2:28 left in the third frame, senior Saki Nakamura got a steal and basket to get the Lady Wave within three at 38-35. About a minute later, Annie Hayes got a big stickback bucket and was fouled. She hit the free throw to tie the game at 38-38. And with 13 seconds left in the frame, senior Koryann Elliott gave the Lady Wave their first lead since 9-8 in the first quarter at 40-38. But before the fourth quarter could begin, Trotwood got a buzzer-beating basket to tie the game back up at 40-40 to end the third quarter.
Greenville regained the lead to start the fourth period when Nakamura drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key just a few seconds into the last quarter. The lead changed hands a couple times over the next few minutes but Trotwood got in front to stay when Koryyn Millerton scored with 3:43 left to give the Rams a 47-45 lead. Greenville sent Sha’Mya Leigh to the free throw line on several occasions the rest the way trying and she was a perfect 6-for-6 to seal the win.
“I just told the girls everything that we talk about that we want within our program and what we need this season they just went out there and did it this afternoon,” Kerns said. “Unfortunately we ended up falling a little short and I even told them the 10 points looks a lot worse than it was because we had to foul at the end and No. 5 (Leigh), give her credit, she made all her free throws.
“We got a lead to start the fourth quarter when Saki hit that three,” she continued. “But it just comes back to they knew our biggest weakness that we didn’t have anybody to match up inside with No. 32 (Millerton). I think we made her take a few tough shots mixed with some easy ones in there, but she did a little bit more than we were anticipating and physically we just didn’t have the same size as what she could bring to the table.”
Trotwood coach Hank Benton said he was not “shocked” when Greenville hit that three to take the lead starting the fourth quarter.
“I told our girls yesterday coming from a big win the other night against Pickerington North that Greenville was going to come in here and play us tough because they always play us tough, so I really wasn’t shocked when they came up and hit that big three and took the lead at 43-40 to start the fourth quarter,” Benton said. “I think it woke our girls up a little bit. Greenville is well coached and when we come to play Greenville it is always a tough match so it just didn’t shock me.
“Adversity like this in a game only builds character and prepares you for the tournament so I appreciate this adversity that we went through today to help us down the road,” he continued. “It was a great game. They played very hard and with a lot of confidence and they shot the ball well. I thought we gave them problems early in the game with our pressure, but they weathered that storm and got back in. Korryn Millerton played big in the fourth quarter in the post. She had an excellent game with 15 points and 12 rebounds. That helped a lot because they couldn’t match up with her. Sha’Mya Leigh also stepped up big and knocked free throws down when she was supposed to and I thought the last two minutes we executed really well.”
Leigh led all players with 25 points in the game. Millerton totaled 15 and Quantaijah Huffman finished with 10 points.
For Greenville, Haleigh Mayo had 12 points followed by Jada Garaland with 11.
“Unfortunately we are on the wrong end of this one but there are a lot more positives than negatives,” Kerns said. “Annie (Hayes) had two really big and-ones. She works so hard in practice so it is nice to see that rewarded, and I also felt like Saki (Nakamura) did a phenomenal job rebounding the ball today. Jada (Garland) and (Haleigh) Mayo hit some outside shots too. It wasn’t just one girl it was everybody. The best thing we can do is use this to move forward.”
The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Lady Wave, who fall to 4-6 overall and 2-5 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference. Trotwood extends its win streak to five in a row with the victory and has a record of 8-2 overall and 6-0 in the GWOC.
Both teams are back in action on Wednesday with Greenville at West Carrollton, while Trotwood goes to Vandalia Butler.
Score by quarters
Trotwood – Quantaijah Huffman 4 0 10, Sparkle Leigh 0 1 1, Goddess McIntyre 1 0 2, Sha’Mya Leigh 8 7 25, Korryn Millerton 7 1 15. Totals: 20 9 55.
Greenville – Haleigh Mayo 3 5 12, Natea Davidson 2 0 4, Saki Nakamura 3 1 8, Jada Garland 4 0 11, Koryann Elliott 2 0 4, Annie Hayes 2 2 6. Totals: 16 8 45.
3-pointers – Trotwood 4 (Huffman 2, Sh. Leigh 2), Greenville 5 (Garland 3, Mayo, Nakamura)
Records: Trotwood-Madison (8-2, 6-0 GWOC South), Greenville (4-6, 2-5 GWOC North)