Speed conquers height as Lady Knights meet challenge No. 1

Speed conquers height as Lady Knights meet challenge No. 1

Image Credit: Justin Smith

In the game of rock-paper-scissors, rock beats scissors, scissors beat paper and paper beats rock.

In the game of Lexington versus West Holmes, quickness beats height.

The West Holmes Lady Knights opened their Ohio Cardinal Conference season in tall order on Saturday, Nov. 26, squaring off with a lengthy Lexington team in a contest featuring two OCC title hopefuls.

The Lady Knights may have lacked in height compared to Lady Lex, but what they lacked in size, they made up for in quickness and defense, where the Lady Knights dominated. The play in the back court helped WHHS forge a glowing 64-33 win that came far easier than head coach Lindsy Snyder ever expected.

“Our staff kept telling me we’d be fine going into it, but I just wasn’t sure where we were at against a team with that kind of size,” Snyder said. “Most of these kids haven’t ever faced that kind of height, so I wasn’t sure how we’d respond.”

She got an answer in a hurry after a tight first quarter when her team started pressuring Lady Lex into numerous turnovers.

Looking for scoring punch this season, Snyder saw junior guard Keegan Uhl simply impose her will on Lexington. Uhl scored West Holmes’ first 14 points including three 3-pointers, but the Lady Knights led by just two after the first period.

Then came the defensive pressure that proved to be too much for Lexington. A 15-3 run predicated by the defense saw WHHS push the issue and speed up the game, and West Holmes started getting contributions across the board. Aveona Yoder, Ella McMillen, Allie McMillen and Nealie Fair joined the scoring parade, and WHHS took a 31-17 lead into the half.

West Holmes turned up the defensive pressure to an even greater level in the second half, continuing to go over and around Lexington, finding their way to the hole, earning trips to the free throw line, and laying down a suppressing defense that forced Lady Lex into 22 turnovers while they committed just 10.

West Holmes won the third quarter 15-6 and finished with a flair, winning the fourth 14-5.

It was a typical Snyder-team effort that featured hard-nosed defense.

“We’ve got a lot of new, young kids trying to find their way, and what we saw was really great,” Snyder said. “We went out and played our game. We used our athleticism and quickness to create and defend, and it hurt them.”

She said the coaching staff and team knows it can produce stops on defense. What they must find out is can they score when they need to. They did on this night, and Snyder said while the team must show consistency, this effort was one to build upon.

“I thought we played with a confidence we didn’t have last year at times,” Snyder said, “We definitely gained some much-needed confidence in our ability to put up numbers offensively, and that is going to help us down the road.”

As for her youngsters, with players like Zalina Proper, Briar Cline, Yoder, Fair, Chloe Patten and Greta Rolince getting their first major taste of varsity action, this first two games and a pair of wins have helped them inch their way into defining their roles.

“It takes time to grow into roles, abut it is fun seeing us make strides and come together as these young girls figure out where they fit in,” Snyder said.

While two games don’t make a season, it is encouraging to get on track early, although Snyder said they aren’t about to crown themselves queen of the hill just yet.

“It’s two games,” Snyder said, “We’ve played well in them, but now we need to go out and prove ourselves every single night. That’s what young teams have to do.”

Uhl ended the evening with 18 points while Ella McMillen caught fire in the second half, racking up 21 points along with four steals, four assists and four rebounds. Allie McMillen added seven points, six rebounds and four steals. Proper knocked down six points and added four boards. Cline pitched in with five points and five rebounds. Yoder scored four with three caroms. Patten hauled down three rebounds and doled out a pair of assists, and Rolince added three boards.