In an early season battle of Muskingum Valley League perennial powers, ‘Round One’ goes to Tri-Valley.
Wednesday night, December 4 in the Dawg House in Dresden, Coach Kurt Kaufman’s Lady Dawg basketball team rallied from an eight-point third quarter deficit, then showed its grit down the stretch to earn an exciting 43-36 win over the visiting, defending conference champs, the Sheridan Lady Generals.
Down 29-21 midway through the third quarter, the Lady Dawgs went on an 8-0 run to climb back in it, tie the contest at 29-29 heading into a wild fourth quarter, then surge past the Lady Generals in the game’s final moments – thanks to last minute heroics from Kyndal Howe and Audrey Spiker – to record their third straight conference win to start the year, and go 4-0 on the young season as well.
The Lady Dawgs started the game well, jumping out to a 6-4 lead on a pair of Lauren King fielders and a netter from sophomore starter Tailor Dupler.
But the visiting Lady Generals – who shared the conference crown with Maysville last season – stormed back with a 9-0 run – and grabbed a lead they would maintain until the game’s hectic latter stages.
Second quarter action saw Sheridan run out to a 20-12 lead, but the Lady Dawgs closed the first half on a 5-1 run, thanks to a Lauren King trey, and trailed 21-17 at halftime.
Howe’s six points, four from Spiker, and Janie McLoughlin’s game-tying fielder late in the third quarter, set the stage for the dramatic fourth quarter.
Points – and possessions -were at a premium in the first four minutes of the fourth period, as neither team cracked the scoring column until Howe coolly dropped in a pair of charity tosses for a 31-29 TV lead, but Sheridan’s Emma Conrad answered with four straight points as the Lady Generals bounced back ahead 33-31 with three minutes remaining.
Howe again responded for the Lady Dawgs, tying the contest with a bucket, then a four-shot possession by SHS ended with a decisive McLoughlin rebound, setting the stage for Kyndal Howe’s dramatic trey from the corner, then an Audrey Spiker steal and lay-up for a 38-33 lead.
A trey from Sheridan’s Liberty Justice closed the gap, but the Lady Dawgs sealed the win stripping the nets on five of their attempted six free throws (Lauren King and Riley Tracy were four-for-four) in the game’s final 30 seconds.
Howe’s game-high 15 counters led the winners, followed by King and Spiker’s nine points apiece for Tri-Valley, who connected on 15 of their attempted 40 shots from the field, and a solid 11 of 14 from the charity stripe. The Lady Dawgs committed 12 turnovers for the game, but just five in the decisive second half.
Eight different Lady Generals cracked the scoring column, but none in double figures, as Emma Conrad’s eight counters and six rebounds paced the visitors. Sheridan’s shooting woes were confirmed by their 16 of 48, 33 percent from the field shooting percentage and just three for 16 three-point field goal performance as well; in addition, the Lady Generals visited the free throw line just twice in the contest, making one charity toss.
The evening of girls basketball action tipped off with an entertaining junior varsity contest, as – try as they might – Coach Logan Scott’s Lady Dawg reserve squad couldn’t quite catch the visiting Sheridan Lady Generals JV’s, falling 32-29. Tri-Valley was paced by freshman point guard Anna Krupa’s game-high 16 points; Grace Dowdell’s nine points paced the winners.
The Lady Dawgs hit the road for their next two contests, first traveling on Saturday, December 8 to West Muskingum for a battle with the Lady Tornadoes, then on Monday evening, boarding the bus north to Mt Vernon, for a non-conference date with the Lady Yellow Jackets.