JACKSON — There aren’t too many teams than can keep Jackson High School senior standout Rebekah Green under control.
But the Miami Trace Panthers, the defending Division II regional champion, are indeed one of those clubs.
The visiting Lady Panthers locked down on the Ironladies’ second all-time leading scorer and held her to a season-low 16 points on Saturday, while offensively amassing eight three-point goals — en route to an easy 60-25 victory in a Frontier Athletic Conference girls basketball tilt.
With the win, the Panthers raised their record to 6-1 — and remained perfect in the FAC at 4-0 along with Washington Court House.
The Ironladies, after opening with two home victories, fell for the fourth consecutive bout — and are now 1-3 in the league.
Truth be told, Miami Trace — with its size, strength, depth and experience advantage —overmatched the Ironladies.
The defensive key was keeping Green from going off, who had scored at least 20 points in every game.
That was until Saturday, as the Lady Panthers limited her to only 16 points on five field goals and 6-of-8 free throws.
She scored two field goals apiece in the opening and closing quarters, sandwiched around a second-quarter basket and all of her free-throw attempts.
Miami Trace coach Ben Ackley admitted it was a team goal to keep Green in check.
She shot just 5-of-16 from the field, as the Ironladies only went 9-of-29 for 31-percent — and committed 18 turnovers.
“She (Green) is such a nice player, so smart and crafty with the ball. We knew she was a handful, but anytime you can keep her to under 20 points, that’s saying a lot,” said Ackley. “She has had big game after big game, but I thought we neutralized her the best we could. You’re never going to shut a kid like her completely down, but we knew it would take a team effort on defense. I thought our kids did a good job of that.”
Jackson coach Matt Walburn was well-aware of the talent and power that the Panthers possessed.
“We knew coming into the game that we were well-overmatched,” he said. “I thought early on, first quarter especially, we stuck to the gameplan. But when they have five players out on the floor that can all play at one time, it’s hard to defend that. I don’t care who you are. Coach (Ben) Ackley does a great job with them. I thought our kids hung in there and fought, but when you are only playing six or seven kids, you’re going to get pretty tired.”
While Green was — and almost always is —the overwhelming majority of Jackson’s offense, the Panthers shared the wealth.
Nine players scored, paced by Shay McDonald’s game-high 18 points, which included half of the team’s eight threes.
Victoria Fliehman finished with 10 — on three total field goals and 3-of-3 free throws.
“I thought Shay McDonald had a great game offensively, and Victoria Fliehman played really well early and opened up some driving lanes,” said Ackley.
Tanner Bryant had four field goals towards nine points, while Olivia Wolffe wound up with seven and Tori Evans four.
Miami Trace, in addition to its 8-of-9 free throws, shot 42-percent (22-of-52) from the field — including canning half of its 17 three-ball tries.
“We shot the ball really well tonight, but the reason we shot better was because we shared the ball better,” said Ackley. “I thought we got a lot of open looks because we made the extra pass. That made a big difference.”
Miami Trace trailed only once at 2-0, then scored 10 consecutive points over the next four minutes — prior to a bucket by Jackson’s Elizabeth Fout.
That was with three minutes and five seconds remaining in the opening quarter, as Jackson got no closer the reminder of the way — aside from Marley Haynes’ field goal a minute and 20 seconds later that made it 14-6.
The Panthers doubled up the Ironladies in each of the first two periods — 16-8 and 12-6 — then scored the first 15 points of the third frame.
In being blitzed 20-4 in the third quarter, Jackson didn’t get a field goal until Haynes hit inside with 55 tics left — before Green made a pair of free throws to trail 48-18.
“Down 28-14, we have to come out in the third quarter and do a lot of really good things in that situation. But against a team like that, that is difficult,” said Walburn. “They are solid. They are big, they are long, they can handle the ball, they can shoot the ball, there’s not really a weak part of their game to be honest with you. You got to see one of the best basketball teams not only in this area for sure, but in the state of Ohio.”
The Panthers then outscored the Ironladies 12-7 in the final stanza, as Aubrey McCoy’s basket with 25 seconds to play not only set the final score, but marked the largest lead of the night.
Jackson’s only other fourth-period points were a three-pointer by Fout.
“We shot it really well early in the third quarter and our confidence kept building,” said Ackley. “We were able to get some stops and they missed some shots that they probably normally make.”
Haynes had six of the Ironladies’ 21 rebounds, as Bryant made off with three of the Panthers’ 11 steals.
The Panthers will host Hathaway Brown on Wednesday night — one of the top Division II programs in the entire state.
This is a rematch of the State semifinal from back on March 16 of this year when Miami Trace led by eight points at halftime before falling to Brown, 48-40.
The j-v game begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity.
* * *
MT 16 12 20 12 — 60
J 8 6 4 7 — 25
MIAMI TRACE (6-1, 4-0 FAC)
Olivia Wolfe 3 1-2 7, Cassidy Lovett 0 0-0 0, Becca Ratliff 1 0-0 3, Aubrey McCoy 1 0-0 2, Shay McDonald 6 2-2 18, Tori Evans 2 0-0 4, Olivia Fliehman 2 0-0 5, Victoria Fliehman 3 3-3 10, Tanner Bryant 4 0-0 9, Aubrey Schwartz 0 0-0 0, Gracee Stewart 0 0-0 0, Morgan Miller 0 0-0 0, Lena Steele 0 2-2 2; TOTALS 22 8-9 60; Three-point goals: 8 (Shay McDonald 4, Becca Ratliff, Olivia Fliehman, Victoria Fliehman and Tanner Bryant 1 apiece)
JACKSON (2-4, 1-3 FAC)
Jordan Banks 0 0-0 0, Rebekah Green 5 6-8 16, Gracie Walburn 0 0-0 0, Mariah Ridgeway 0 0-0 0, Raegan Hall 0 0-0 0, Taylor Evans 0 0-0 0, Raylene Hammond 0 0-0 0, Elizabeth Fout 2 0-0 5, Marley Haynes 2 0-0 4, Kaitlyn Kight 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 9 6-8 25; Three-point goals: 1 (Elizabeth Fout 1)