Lady Eagles stifle No. 6 Rivet in regional semis
By Brandon Miniard, Sports Writer, [email protected]
As snow began to sprinkle Saturday morning over the farmlands surrounding West Washington High School, there was plenty of heat in Tower Gymnasium, site of the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s regional 16.
After an intense opening battle between Class 1A No. 7 Tecumseh and No. 11 Trinity Lutheran, the second semi-final bout featured No. 2 Lanesville confronting No. 6 Vincennes Rivet. The Lady Eagles had history with the Lady Patriots, who ended the Lady Eagles’ first-ever regional appearance in the opening round of the Springs Valley regional back in the 2018-19 season.
Three years after suffering a 70-33 loss to the Lady Patriots, the Lady Eagles finally had their turn to pick apart the Lady Patriots despite a frigid start, sending the Lady Patriots home empty-handed, 58-25.
“(Rivet) beat us pretty good at Springs Valley (in 2019),” Lady Eagles’ skipper Angie Hinton said. “We knew they were gonna be big, and our strength is more about getting the ball up the floor and trying to keep the ball away from the basket as much as we could.”
Initially, the contest looked to be a repeat of their last post-season meeting as the Lady Eagles had a goose egg in the scoring column for the contest’s first six minutes, while the Lady Patriots took an early lead on three’s from Maddisyn Halter and Lissa Willis. It took a triple from sophomore guard Ava Kerr to get the Lady Eagles going offensively, followed by free throws from junior center Morgan Sonner and a triple from freshman guard Hylton Brumley before the period ended with a slim 8-6 Lanesville advantage.
Junior wing Linzie Wernert got the Lady Eagles off to a better start in the second quarter with a pair of mid-range shots, followed by consecutive triples from senior guard Emma Campbell. Campbell added two freebies alongside buckets from Sonner and senior wing Kennedy Gordon while the Lady Eagles’ ferocious defense emerged. The Patriots managed only three points from Meredith Weiss amid myriad turnovers before limping into the locker room down 24-9.
The Lady Eagles’ defense continued to stifle the Lady Patriots throughout much of the third quarter, the latter managing only four points. The Lady Eagles had no such issue scoring, thanks to five points apiece from Kerr and freshman guard Hadley Crosier, along with four points from Sonner, a Brumley long ball and a Wernert bucket to take a commanding 45-13 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Patriots’ offense finally began to heat up in the fourth quarter, thanks to eight points from Kenadee Frey followed by a bucket from Anna Herman and two Weiss free throws. By that point, it was too late for the Lady Patriots as the Lady Eagles kept their distance with four points from freshman forward Shelby Allen, triples from Campbell and Kerr, three points from Sonner and a Brumley bucket, polishing off an empathic 58-25 victory.
“I thought Morgan did a great job inside, got really good help from Linzie and Kennedy; they got on the boards because we knew we had to be first to the balls,” Hinton said. “We started out slow offensively, but our defense kept us in check. The kids just really played their hearts out.”
The Lady Eagles once again had a balanced scoring assault led by 11 points apiece from Campbell and Sonner. Frey’s eight points in the fourth quarter led the Lady Patriots.
The victory was one filled with historic ramifications as it marked the deepest post-season run in the Lady Eagles’ post-season history, as well as extending their program-best winning streak to 22 straight. There was more to do when they advanced to the regional championship later that night to confront No. 7 Tecumseh, who ended the Lady Eagles’ season in each of the past two years.