WEST ALEXANDRIA – Before Monday’s game Twin Valley South honored its three seniors. Oftentimes teams also will honor the visiting team’s seniors as well – but Mississinawa Valley has no seniors on its squad.
And that was a big part of the difference in the game as a more experienced Twin Valley South team held off an early charge by Mississinawa then made a charge of its own in the second half for a 58-39 win.
The first quarter and a half saw the two teams battling back and forth with the Blackhawks actually leading several times. Kya Lavy gave the Blackhawks their first lead of the night on a free throw early in the first quarter.
Then to start the second quarter the Blackhawks nailed three treys in a row as Leah Scholl and Bailey Johnson both got a hot hand and put the Blackhawks in front 18-17. That would be their last lead of the night, though.
Johnson would score 9 of her team-high 12 points in the quarter.
“Bailey Johnson has been fighting the flu all week,” Mississinawa Valley girls basketball coach Vance Venesky said. “She did not have the energy that she usually would have, but she’s the best shooter on our team. She was able to get open and get shots for us. She’s a great kid, and we are looking for better things to come from her next season.”
About midway through the second quarter South took a timeout and started feeding the ball to a strong senior post player Kelsie Shafer. She would score 16 of her 19 points in the quarter while the Blackhawks could only answer with 1 more trey from Johnson.
The Blackhawks adjusted their defense and took away Shafer by having her closely guarded by Olivia Murphy and later Lavy. But the damage was done, and at halftime it was a double-digit deficit with the Panthers up 32-21.
South pressed for most of the game, but in the second half the Panthers intensified their efforts, and the Blackhawks helped South by giving up some unforced turnovers. The young team seemed to be rattled.
More importantly Mississinawa Valley’s shooting was cold in the third quarter. The Hawks only scored a single basket in the frame. They did score 12 in the last quarter and kept pace with South, but they did not make any headway against their lead.
Still Coach Venesky was pleased with the effort and is looking forward to the future.
“The girls fought hard,” he said. “You wouldn’t know what their record was by the way they played. We had some chances there in the first half, but we went cold and they made the most of their opportunities.
“It’s all a learning experience for these girls – a good many of them are freshman and many had no varsity experience until this year. I’m looking for better things from this team next year, and the experience they gained this year is going to pay off. Due to injuries we had to play some girls at varsity who ordinarily would not have. Next year we should have seven, eight girls come up from eighth grade, and we will have plenty of players.”
TV South scoring: Kelsie Shafer 19, Mylan Crews 17, Taylor Bowers 8, Madison Johnson 5, Abby Bingham 4, Alexis Bennett 3, McKenzie Neal 2.
Miss. Valley scoring: Bailey Johnson 12, Kya Lavy 8, Taylor Stachler 7, Sidnie Hunt 6, Leah Scholl 6