It was a different kind of start to the girls basketball game Wednesday night at Miami Trace High School.
Two star senior players, both recently sidelined with season-ending injuries, were on the court at the start.
Victoria Fliehman for Miami Trace and Rebekah Green, on crutches, were on the floor at the tip.
As soon as the tip-off was finished, approximately two seconds, the officials called time out and the girls stood together for a quick photograph and left the court, the game then getting underway in earnest.
“It was nice that we were able to show Vic the gratitude that she deserves for the career that she’s had,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Ackley said. “Exactly what she’s represented for Miami Trace basketball and for the entire district. She’s a great kid who’s done it the right way.
“Tonight she went out on her terms,” Ackley said. “That was great to see. She’s had a fabulous career. She’ll be back better than ever next winter playing for Cedarville.
“Morgan Miller is a great kid,” Ackley said. “She’s been a program kid, a really good role player for us for four years. She works extremely hard. She’s done everything she’s been asked to do.
“Tanner Bryant has just been unbelieveable,” Ackley said. “She’s a great kid. She’s putting time in when no one else sees her. She’s the hardest worker I’ve ever coached. She’s a team-first kid. She’s led by example and taken this program to new heights under her leadership.
“When these seniors were freshmen, we were 6-16,” Ackley said. “We had a lot of injuries that year and we started to rebuild. We’re 17-2 now, coming off a Final Four appearance at 24-5 and when they were sophomores we were 21-3. They’ve put our program back on the map as an elite program in southeast Ohio. We’ll try to hold their honor up and keep it going the next few years.
“Rebekah Green is probably the best guard in the league,” Ackley said. “She’s going to Ursuline College on a scholarship. She’s an extremely tough kid that was battling an injury all year. She’ll have a great career at Ursuline. I think she’s scored over 1,400 points in her career and she has been a great leader for Jackson and their program.”
Once the game was underway, things quickly went the Lady Panthers’ way as they scored the first 26 points on their way to a 66-16 Frontier Athletic Conference victory.
It was the final girls conference game to be played in the Panther Pit as Miami Trace will be moving into their new high school for next season.
It was senior night for the Lady Panthers and they honored their three members of the Class of 2018, Morgan Miller, Victoria Fliehman and Tanner Bryant prior to the game.
Miami Trace junior Cassidy Lovett was the game’s leading scorer with 15 points.
Sophomore Shay McDonald scored 14 and Bryant added 10.
Senior Mariah Ridgeway led the Iron Ladies with eight points.
Miami Trace created havoc with their pressure defense. The Lady Panthers had a season-high 25 steals and Jackson turned the ball over 37 times.
Miami Trace had 13 turnovers in the game.
The Lady Panthers shot the ball very well, making 27 of 52 shot attempts for 52 percent. Miami Trace made 5 of 18 three-point field goal attempts for 28 percent.
Jackson made 7 of 27 shots on the night for 26 percent. They were 2 of 6 from behind the three-point line for 33 percent.
McDonald and Miller led Miami Trace in rebounds, each with five.
It was 26-0 before Ridgeway hit a three for Jackson with 4:40 left to play in the second quarter.
By halftime, Miami Trace held a 35-8 lead.
The Lady Panthers, substituting liberally throughout the game, outscored Jackson 19-4 in the third quarter to go in front, 54-12.
Miami Trace, now 17-2 on the season, is taking part in the Ironton Shootout Saturday, playing George Rogers Clark out of West Virginia.
Miami Trace has one final home game remaining, that coming up Thursday against Fairfield Union.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 24 11 19 12 — 66
J 0 8 4 4 — 16
MIAMI TRACE — Olivia Wolffe 2-2-6; Cassidy Lovett 5 (1)-2-15; Becca Ratliff 0 (2)-0-6; Aubrey McCoy 1-0-2; Shay McDonald 7-0-14; Tori Evans 1 (1)-0-5; Olivia Fliehman 3-0-6; Victoria Fliehman 0-0-0; Tanner Bryant 2 (1)-3-10; Magarah Bloom 0-0-0; Gracee Stewart 0-0-0; Morgan Miller 1-0-2. TOTALS — 22 (5)-7-66. Free throw shooting: 7 of 10 for 70 percent. Three-point field goals: Ratliff, 2; Lovett, Evans, Bryant. Combined field goal shooting: 27 of 52 for 52 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 5 of 18 for 28 percent. Rebounds: 40 (8 offensive). Turnovers: 13. Assists: 11. Steals: 25. Personal fouls: 9.
JACKSON — Jordan Banks 0-0-0; Bebekah Green 0-0-0; Gracie Walburn 0-0-0; Mariah Ridgeway 1 (2)-0-8; Raegan Hall 0-0-0; Emma Bapst 0-0-0; Raylene Hammond 2-0-4; Elizabeth Fout 0-0-0; Marley Haynes 0-0-0; Kaitlyn Kight 0-0-0. TOTALS — 5 (2)-0-16. Free throw shooting: 0 of 3. Three-point field goals: Ridgeway, 2. Combined field goal shooting: 7 of 27 for 26 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 2 of 6 for 33 percent. Turnovers: 37. Offensive rebounds: 5.
MT wins j-v game over Jackson
In the j-v game Wednesday, Miami Trace defeated Jackson, 27-10.
For Miami Trace, Grace Bapst, Magarah Bloom and Gracee Stewart each scored six points, Addy Little had four, Krissy Ison scored three and Aubrey McCoy had two.
Miami Trace is now 11-6 overall, 6-2 in the FAC.
Jaqulyn Pfieffer scored three to lead Jackson.