It was a game featuring two of the best basketball teams in the Southeast District of Ohio as the Miami Trace Lady Panthers hosted the Panthers of Southeastern High School (Ross County) before a substantial crowd Thursday.
With a tournament-like atmosphere, an old-fashioned barn-burner, the two teams battled down to the wire before Southeastern emerged with a 54-50 win.
Miami Trace suffers its first setback of the season to fall to 14-1 overall.
Southeastern improves to 12-1 on the year.
Ella Skeens was the game’s leading scorer for Southeastern with 21 points.
Audrie Wheeler had 13 for the blue and white Panthers.
Both players have scored over 1,000-points in their careers.
Miami Trace junior Tanner Bryant led her team with 18 points.
Junior Victoria Fliehman had 11 points, freshman Shaylee McDonald had 10 and senior Samantha Ritenour scored eight. Ritenour led Miami Trace with nine rebounds. Fliehman had seven rebounds and Bryant had six.
Bryant scored the first basket for Miami Trace, just 10 seconds into the game.
That would prove to be the only lead Miami Trace had on this night.
Southeastern went on a 9-0 run and finished the first quarter with a 17-6 lead.
The Lady Panthers simply were not able to overcome that 11-point margin.
Miami Trace had a 10-2 run to start the second quarter, pulling to within three, at 19-16 with 3:44 to play in the half.
The Lady Panthers trailed 25-21 at the end of the first half.
The scoring was even in the second half, with both teams scoring 29 points.
To start the third quarter, Bryant scored a bucket and Ritenour hit a pair of free throws, tying the game, 25-25.
Mitten answered for Southeastern with a three-point basket.
Ritenour scored and was fouled, converting the old-fashioned three-point play to again tie the game, 28-28.
This time it was Wheeler responding with another three to put her team back in front, 31-28.
Southeastern increased its lead to eight points, 38-30 with 1:53 to play in the third quarter.
Fliehman connected for a three near the end of the third, but Southeastern was able to get back quickly and score a bucket to make it 42-36 after three quarters.
Miami Trace twice trailed by seven points in the early stages of the fourth quarter.
Bryant scored and Fliehman scored and was fouled, converting the free throw to pull Miami Trace to within two points, 46-44, with 4:20 to play in the game.
Southeastern hit two free throws and Bryant hit a pair from the line to make it 48-46 with 3:12 remaining to be played.
Coming out of a time out, Southeastern scored, answered by McDonald to bring the tally to 50-48 with 1:10 to go.
Miami Trace had three shot attempts to tie the game, but could not get the ball to drop.
Southeastern hit two free throws and Ritenour, just inside the three-point line, hit a shot with 18.3 seconds left to make it 52-50.
Another pair of charity tosses gave Southeastern what would be the final score, 54-50.
“I’m proud of our kids,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Ackley said. “Our kids played extremely hard.
“I thought the first six minutes of the game cost us tonight, big time,” Ackley said. “We dug a hole and we never really got out of it. We tied it a couple of times and they responded by hitting threes.
“I give Southeastern all the credit in the world,” Ackley said. “They’re a great team with a couple of really good players and some nice role players; they’re well-coached. Skeens is one of the best players, if not the best player, in the area. She made big shots for them tonight.
“We exposed ourselves on defense a couple of times by trying to guard (Skeens and Wheeler) and their role players made us pay,” Ackley said. “We just have to do a better job of handling pressure and executing.”
“That’s definitely one of the biggest wins since the Southeastern girls went to the State way back,” Southeastern head coach Mike Adams said. “Definitely one of the biggest (wins) in a good, long time.”
Adams was pleased with his team’s defensive play.
“That’s a defense right there that I haven’t seen this year,” Adams said. “I told the kids, ‘we have got to do our very best on the defensive end, limit them to one shot.’ It was great defense. We just rebounded fantastic.”
It was a fine display of free throw shooting by both teams.
Miami Trace made 12 of 14 from the line for 86 percent, while Southeastern hit 12 of 15 for 80 percent.
Both teams made four three-point field goals.
The difference was Southeastern making 15 two-point baskets to 13 for Miami Trace.
For the game, Miami Trace shot 17 of 51 from the field for 33 percent, compared with Southeastern’s 19 of 53 for 36 percent.
Miami Trace now makes the trip up to Putnam County to take on the No. 1 team in the state in Division II, Ottawa-Glandorf, at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Southeastern is at Washington to take on the Lady Blue Lions Saturday with the j-v game starting at 1:30 p.m.
“This is a great learning experience for our kids,” Ackley said. “We’ve got a day to practice before we go to Ottawa-Glandorf, the No. 1 team in the state, Saturday. There’s no time to sulk. We just have to get after it and play carefree.
“I watched them Saturday at the Classic in the Country,” Ackley said. “They’re very solid; they have five extremely good starters and their bench is very good. They just don’t make mistakes. We’ll have to play the best game we’ve played all year to play with Ottawa-Glandorf and hope with three or four minutes to go we’ve got a shot to win.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 6 15 15 14 — 50
SE 17 8 17 12 — 54
MIAMI TRACE — Olivia Wolffe 0-0-0; Cassidy Lovett 1-1-3; Becca Ratliff 0-0-0; Hanna Reisinger 0-0-0; Shaylee McDonald 2 (2)-0-10; Morgan Miller 0-0-0; Victoria Fliehman 2 (2)-1-11; Tanner Bryant 6-6-18; Samantha Ritenour 2-4-8. TOTALS — 13 (4)-12-50. Free throw shooting: 12 of 14 for 86 percent. Three-point field goals: McDonald, 2; Fliehman, 2. Combined field goal shooting: 17 of 51 for 33 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 4 of 17 for 24 percent. Turnovers: 8. Rebounds: 26 (15 offensive). Assists: 7. Steals: 5. Personal fouls: 19.
SOUTHEASTERN — Kali Mitten 1-4-6; McKinley Mitten 1 (2)-0-8; Audrie Wheeler 2 (2)-3-13; Ella Skeens 8-5-21; Mandy Morris 0-0-0; Rachael Collins 3-0-6; Skylar Hice 0-0-0. TOTALS — 15 (4)-12-54. Free throw shooting: 12 of 15 for 80 percent. Three-point field goals: M. Mitten, 2; Wheeler, 2. Combined field goal shooting: 19 of 53 for 36 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 4 of 9 for 44 percent. Turnovers: 15. Offensive rebounds: 8.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1