NEW CARLISLE – The Greenville Lady Wave advanced in OHSAA DII tournament play recording their second tournament win of the season while extending their win streak to five games with a 44-40 victory over the Kenton Ridge Lady Cougars.
“We did a lot of good things and we did some really not good things but when it comes to this time of year – whatever you have to do to advance,” said Greenville coach Rachael Kerns. “We did enough that we get to go play another game.”
The two game tournament win streak is not new to the Lady Wave program but has not been a recent accomplishment.
“I don’t know the last time,” Kerns noted. “I know it happened in 2005 because that is when I was playing ball here at Greenville.”
Greenville took the opening quarter 14-10 with Haleigh Benken pouring in 11 Lady Wave first period points including two 3-pointers.
The Lady Wave grabbed their first double digit lead of the night, 20-10 with 5:01 showing on the second quarter clock on their way to a 13-6 second period advantage sending the teams to the break with Greenville holding a 27-16 advantage. Gilbert placed the Lady Wave with 6-points including a 3-pointer in the period.
Greenville pushed its lead to 20 points at 4:15 in the third by a 36-16 score giving Coach Kerns an opportunity to rest several starters while giving younger players valuable tournament experience. The Lady Cougars seized the opportunity and battled back to make it an 8-point game with the Lady Wave leading 33-25 with the teams heading to the final period of play.
“I wanted to give Morgan (Gilbert) a little breather and I also wanted to give some of the younger ones some experience,” said Kerns. “I think hindsight maybe I shouldn’t have done it when I did, but even if it’s not a positive experience right now it’s still going to be valuable moving into the future. It is just a testament to what Morgan does for our program and what she does for our team.”
Lady Wave fourth quarter play mirrored the latter half of third quarter play as shots would not fall with Kenton Ridge closing in.
The Lady Cougars closed the gap to 35-40 at 3:22 and got it down to a 3-point 43-40 Greenville lead with 1:24 remaining in the game.
The Lady Wave defense answered the call holding Kenton Ridge scoreless the remainder of the game while Nyesha Wright was making it a 2-point possession knocking down a free throw with 0:12.7 showing to give the Lady Wave a 4-point win and advance in tournament play.
“I was confident enough that we was going to be able to continue what we were doing for that two minutes without her,” Kerns said of resting Morgan Gilbert in third quarter play, “but fortunately that fourth quarter we did just enough .”
Missing from the Lady Wave lineup was senior post player Annie Hayes due to a season ending injury coming in the opening round 47-28 tournament win over the Benjamin Logan Lady Raiders.
“Annie is one of the main reasons we were able to play the defense that we played this year,” said Coach Kerns. “If you notice, we got out of our zone pretty quick. We’re not as big without her in there and she covers that middle area so well.”
“Unfortunately we didn’t even get to practice without her because we thought she was good to go our last two practices. Today was our first day of not having her. It is a super unfortunate incident because Annie was playing some of her best basketball.”
“Love Annie and just love everything that she brings to our program and what she does for many reasons,” Coach Kerns added. “That’s a hard one to lose but especially hard tonight because it showed what she does for us defensively.”
Behnken led Greenville and all scorers with a game high 26-points.
“Haleigh (Behnken) did a really good job finding a way to score tonight and it’s really nice when Morgan (Gilbert) gets in double digits also,” Kerns said following the game. “For as poorly tonight as we were offensively, it wasn’t because we didn’t get good looks. We got a lot of them that just kind of rolled around the rim but ultimately this time of year – whatever you have to do to win.”
The No. 4 seed Lady Wave face the No. 1 seed Tippecanoe Lady Red Devils, Monday, February 24 at Tecumseh High School with a 6 p.m. start time. Tippecanoe comes into the game riding a 14-game win streak and owners of an 18-0 MVL title and a 20-4 season mark.
GREENVILLE 44, KENTON RIDGE 40
GREENVILLE – H. Behnken 26, M. Gilbert 12, N. Wright 3, L. McKinney 2, A. Yoder 1 – TOTALS 9 14-27 2 44
KENTON RIDGE – J. Johnson 9, M. Board 7, K. Hall 5, Z. Taylor 5, A. Rahrig 4, T. Avery 4, E. Schleinite 2, M. DeHart 2, B. DeHart 2 – TOTALS 16 2-4 2 40
Greenville 3 (H. Behnken 2, M. Gilbert 1)
Kenton Ridge 2 (J. Johnson 1, Z. Taylor 1)
SCORE by QUARTERS:
14-13-06-11 44 Greenville
10-06-09-15 40 Kenton Ridge
Contact Darke County Media Sports Editor Gaylen Blosser at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-548-3330