Coach Kurt Kaufman’s Tri-Valley Lady Dawg basketball team got the job done on the road at Maysville Saturday night, January 5 – bringing home a hard-fought 61-55 victory over the host Lady Panthers.
The Lady Dawgs led at every break in this big Muskingum Valley League battle, on the same floor that the Lady Panthers defeated Tri-Valley on in last season’s conference title-deciding, overtime thriller. But on this night, it was the black-and-gold who held the upper hand, winning the key conference battle, despite a sub-par, 12 of 26 performance from the free throw line.
The win improved the Lady Dawgs overall record to 10-1, and 7-1 in league play – tied for first place with Sheridan, as they reached the halfway point in MVL play and head to second round play against conference opponents. Maysville fell 6-2 in MVL play with the loss.
Tri-Valley jumped out to a 17-11 lead at the first break, thanks to senior Laiken Little’s pair of three-point plays — one a long trey, and the other, a traditional three point play via a fast break lay-up and charity toss. Sophomore Riley Tracy tossed in five first frame points, while junior Audrey Spiker added a pair of her patented, lightning quick drives to the hoop as well for four points.
TV junior guard Lauren King had the hot hand in the second stanza, looping in two long treys, while Spiker added a rebound bucket and yet another steal and drive to the hoop for a lay-up, as the visiting Lady Dawgs led 29-18 at the halftime break.
Third quarter action saw Tri-Valley junior forward Kyndal Howe work hard close to the hoop for six points, while Little got back in the scoring column in a big way with another long trey from the left hand corner, a fast break lay-up for a counter as well, then a pair of late third quarter charity tosses, as it looked like Tri-Valley would take a 10-point, 44-34 lead into the fourth quarter.
But Maysville’s talented Bailee Smith had other ideas, connecting on her fourth trey of the third period just ahead of the buzzer, and giving her team a shot of momentum, as the hosts trailed 44-37 heading into the fourth quarter.
TV’s Kyndal Howe opened the fourth period with a free throw, then a strong rebound bucket – but yet another Bailee Smith long, top of the key trey pulled the Lady Panthers within six points, at 47-41, with 5:40 remaining in regulation play.
But that’s when the Lady Dawgs put the pedal to the metal, going on an 8-0 run, as Howe converted a power drive to the hoop for two points, Spiker outraced the opposition to the rim for a lay-up, Little fired in a wing jumper, then ‘super-soph’ Riley Tracy stripped the nets on a baseline jumper from the right side, and just like that, Tri-Valley had command of the contest at 55-41 with two minutes left – or so it seemed.
The scrappy Lady Panthers wouldn’t go down without a fight however, and climbed back to within five points at 60-55 in the game’s waning moments, before the Lady Dawgs made just enough free throws – seven to be exact – to get out of town with the 61-55 win.
Little’s 17 points paced the winning Lady Dawgs, who also got 13 apiece from Howe and Spiker, and eight counters each from King and Tracy as well. As noted, Tri-Valley connected on a dismal 12 of 26 attempts from the ‘not-so-charitable’ stripe for the game, to include a near costly seven-of-18 fourth quarter showing; but the Lady Dawgs grit and determination was the difference in this one.
Maysville’s Bailee Smith’s game-high 23 point effort included six second half treys, while teammate Macie Jarrett joined her in double figures with ten counters. Kassidy Rock and Alexis Samson each finished with seven points for the Lady Panthers as well.
Tri-Valley dropped the junior varsity contest 29-26, and were led in scoring by freshman Anna Krupa with eight points and Kendall Baughman with seven.
The Lady Dawgs are back in action on Wednesday evening, January 9, when they welcome the visiting John Glenn Lady Muskies to Dresden and The Dawg House.