Lady Blackhawks pull away in fourth quarter in win over Lady Tigers


By Drew Terhall

UNION CITY — To round out the Rt. 47 Shootout, the Mississinawa Valley girls basketball team defeated Ansonia, 62-35, on Jan. 20 at home.

Mississinawa Valley head coach Michael Paige said this game was similar to the last time these two teams played on Dec. 23. It was a close, ugly game for three quarters before the Lady Blackhawks pulled away at the end.

“It’s a rivalry game. The last time we played them, the game was just like this. It was a close game in the fourth quarter and we managed to pull away,” Paige said. “It was a rough game, it was an ugly game. The fact we can still learn to win and we’re still winning ugly games is just a bonus for us. A way for us to continue to grow.”

Mississinawa Valley led 22-14 after Ansonia sophomore Olivia Schmitmeyer scored a bucket just before the first half ended.

Both teams struggled to get the offense going. Ansonia struggled to take care of the ball, but did enough to keep within striking distance.

Mississinawa Valley couldn’t run their offense efficiently and couldn’t hit their shots. The teams leading scorer, junior Taylee Woodbury, was held to two points in the first half.

Ansonia head coach Connor Custenborder said he was happy with how his team executed the box and one defense on Woodbury and the Lady Blackhawks. They were able to slow down a high powered offense and force them to play in a low scoring game.

“We put a box and one on her. I thought the girls picked it up very well. Put it in practice this week. They did a good picking that up and executing that in the first half,” Custenborder said.

But as the game went on, Mississinawa Valley kept making enough plays to stay ahead by a comfortable margin. Even as Ansonia cut down the game to a four-point deficit early in the second half, Mississinawa Valley fought back.

In the third quarter, the Lady Blackhawks scored nine of their 14 points from the free throw line. The Ansonia offense made a few shots to keep pace with the free points Mississinawa Valley was earning.

Then the fourth quarter rolled around. The Lady Blackhawks outscored the Lady Tigers, 26-8, in the final quarter.

Custenborder said with the team still down, they switched to a full court press to get some momentum on there side. Once Mississinawa Valley was able to break the press, Ansonia couldn’t transition into their half-court defense fast enough.

“We were down a little bit, so we had to pressure a little bit more than what we were doing. We had to go full court instead of half court. We couldn’t transition into our half-court defense. We didn’t really give up layups off of it, we weren’t matching up quickly out of it,” Custenborder said.

Junior Syenna Purdin sparked the offense with two made threes in the quarter. Then Woodbury got in on the action and put away the Lady Tigers with four made threes. Mississinawa Valley made nine threes as a team.

Paige said this time around, the team played better defensively to close it out and were able to find ways to score after struggling most of the game.

Woodbury led all scorers with 21 points. Purdin had 12 points. For Ansonia, senior Bailey Schmit led the Lady Tigers with 11 points. Freshman London Reichert had eight points.

Paige said overall, the Rt. 47 Shootout was a great way for everyone in the basketball programs and in the community to support each other. Boys and girls from junior high and up were able to be the featured game for both schools.

“For everybody, the whole community to come out and be able to see these games, enjoy these games and see all the future and the talent coming in is really good for the community all together,” Paige said.

Mississinawa Valley is now 12-4 on the season with a 7-1 WOAC record. Ansonia is now 6-8 on the season with a 3-5 WOAC record.

Ansonia will be at Preble Shawnee on Jan. 25 at 7:15 p.m. The Lady Tigers will then host Botkins on Jan. 27 at noon.

Mississinawa Valley will be at Union City on Jan. 23 for a 7:15 p.m. tip off. They will then host Bradford on Jan. 25 at 7:15 p.m.

Paige said the remaining games on the schedule will help the team face different styles of play as they prepare for the upcoming postseason tournament.

“All of those teams are a little bit different in what they do. It allows up to switch it up and be able to play different teams and different styles of play. That will get us ready for the tournament as well,” Paige said.

Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]

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