Coach Kurt Kaufman’s Tri-Valley girls basketball team’s first step onto the 2019 tournament trail was a good one, as the host Lady Dawgs defeated visiting Columbus Walnut Ridge 62-42, Friday night, February 22 in Dresden at the Dawg House to claim a Central District, Division I Sectional title, and advance to District tourney action.
Fourteenth-seeded Tri-Valley opened up a big lead in the first quarter over the 30-seeded Lady Scots, and never looked back to get the win and cut down the nets, advancing in post-season play as Sectional champions.
The Lady Dawgs will battle 6th seeded, tall and talented Westerville South on Wednesday night, February 27, at a site to be determined, as of the posting of this story. The highly-touted Lady Cats advanced to play Tri-Valley by virtue of their 56-33 win over Thomas Worthington in their Central District tournament opener.
In the Walnut Ridge win, the Lady Dawgs spotted the visiting Lady Scots an early 2-0 lead, then went on a 22-1 tear to close the first quarter, thanks to nine first frame points from junior Kyndal Howe, seven counters from classmate Lauren King, and a perfect six-for-six charity stripe performance from fellow junior standout guard Audrey Spiker.
Play slowed in the second stanza, but the host Lady Dawgs still dominated play, adding 12 more points in the scorebook to take a 34-12 lead at intermission, as King knocked down six more points to lead her team into the halftime break.
Tri-Valley closed the door on the Lady Scots in the third quarter of action, riding Howe’s 11-point, third period show which included her final fielder of the contest, a swished three-point bomb that propelled the Lady Dawgs to a 52-20 lead heading into a fourth quarter that saw the black and gold substituting freely to tack on their final 10 points of the contest for the 62-42 victory.
Howe’s game-high 23 point night paced the winners, followed by yet another solid performance from King, who finished with 18 counters, and Spiker’s 13 to round out TV double figure scorers. Lady Dawg freshman Janie McLoughlin contributed four second half points for her team, while Riley Tracy and Kendall Baughman each added two counters apiece as well.
Leading the way for the Lady Scots was sophomore guard Nevaeh Reaves with a hard-earned 18 points, followed by Cameron Jordan with seven points, and Eniya Miler, with six.
Tri-Valley was 21 of 52 from the floor – just four of 20 from three-point range – made 16 of their 31 attempted free throws, owned a 33-28 edge in the rebounding department, and committed 12 turnovers.
Next up for Coach Kaufman and the Lady Dawgs, it’s second round, Division I, Central District girls basketball action in a TV vs Westerville South battle to take place on Wednesday night, February 27 with a 7:00 p.m. tip-off. But where?
Tip-off to a tourney title!