ZANESVILLE — The Washington Lady Blue Lions and their faithful fans made the long trip over to Zanesville High School on a gray, at times snowy and certainly cold first Tuesday in March to make just their second appearance in the Regional basketball tournament.
Washington’s opponent was the undefeated and No. 3-ranked team in the State, the New Philadelphia Lady Quakers.
The Lady Lions competed to their fullest, but, in the end, New Philadelphia advanced to the Regional finals with a 62-40 victory.
Washington finishes another outstanding season, their second in a row with at least 20 wins (20-6).
The Lady Quakers return to Zanesville High School Friday night to play for a Regional championship against Thornville Sheridan. The Lady Generals defeated Columbus Eastmoor Academy in the night’s second semifinal, 59-44.
For the Lady Lions, senior Hannah Haithcock was the game’s leading scorer with 22 points. She turned in another double-double for her career with 10 rebounds. In addition, she had three steals and blocked five shots.
Junior Shawna Conger scored seven and had one rebound; senior Bre Taylor had six points, junior Halli Wall scored three and had two rebounds and senior Tabby Woods scored two and grabbed two rebounds.
Senior Kassidy Hines had two rebounds for Washington.
Washington had seven assists and six steals as a team.
The Lady Lions were without starting point guard junior Rayana Burns, who sustained an injury in the third quarter of Washington’s 47-45 District championship win over Vinton County.
For the Lady Quakers, senior Aaliyah Currence led a quartet in double figures with 17 points.
Senior Rachel Anderson scored 14, while senior Kate McEwan and junior Josie Pry both scored 12 points.
New Philadelphia never trailed in the game. They hit the first bucket 30 seconds into the contest.
Haithcock scored the first basket for Washington with 5:45 remaining in the first quarter.
The Lady Quakers led 10-2 and 12-6 before hitting a basket at the buzzer to take a 14-6 lead.
Unofficially, New Philadelphia hit 27 of 52 shots for 52 percent.
Washington made 18 of 46 field goal attempts for 39 percent.
In the first quarter, New Philadelphia made 6 of 11 shots to 3 of 9 for Washington.
The Lady Lions shot the ball much better in the second quarter, making 7 of 15 from the field.
However, New Philadelphia connected on 7 of 12, with both teams scoring 16 points to put the halftime score at 30-22.
When Wall hit a three-point shot with 1:10 to play in the half, Washington had pulled to within four points and 26-22.
The Lady Quakers made a pair of free throws and sank a three near the buzzer to take the eight-point lead into the break.
The third quarter was another closely-contested period, with the Lady Quakers scoring 10 points to eight for the Lady Lions.
Washington trailed by as few as six points in the third quarter and by as many as 16 before the period ended with New Philadelphia in the lead, 44-30.
The Lady Lions were giving a valiant effort, but they simply could not seem to garner the traction needed to make a run at the Lady Quakers.
Washington drew within 12 points at the start of the fourth quarter, but the fourth frame saw New Philadelphia only solidify its hold on the game, scoring 22 points to 10 for the final 62-40 score
“This is a tough environment,” Washington head coach Samantha Leach said. “When you make it this far, it turns into a completely different game. It was super-physical. They let you play a little bit. That was something we had to adjust to.
“Once we got settled, we looked a lot better,” Leach said. “Especially toward the end of the second quarter when we made a run. Things just didn’t go our way tonight. We didn’t execute. We had too many turnovers (10 in the first half), we didn’t box out.”
Second chance points on several occasions went to New Philadelphia.
“We didn’t really sprint back in transition,” Leach said. “We gave up a lot of open looks. Things just didn’t go our way this evening.”
In the absence of Burns, Haithcock and Conger took turns running the point for the Lady Lions.
Everyone had to shift around a little bit.
“It’s tough to play 25 games and then come game 26 I’m asking everyone to play a different role,” Leach said. “We adjusted. Everyone stepped up in a different way. The girls played hard and that’s all I can ask from them.
“We definitely missed Rayana at the point guard position,” Leach said. “We adjusted and did what we could.”
Washington says thank you and good-bye to its five seniors: Hannah Haithcock, Maddy Jenkins, Tabby Woods, Bre Taylor and Kassidy Hines.
“Our seniors did a great job of bringing basketball back to life at Washington Court House,” Leach said. “I’m so proud of them. The last two years they’ve won over 20 games. They made it to the District finals back-to-back seasons and won the District this season.
“We couldn’t have done it without their leadership,” Leach said. “They were dedicated to being in the gym over the summer and during the off-season. Our seniors have been great role models for our younger kids to follow. We’re going to miss them so much next year. I just want to wish them the best. I congratulate them on a great season and a great career.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 6 16 8 10 — 40
NP 14 16 10 22 — 62
WASHINGTON — Bre Taylor 3-0-6; Kassidy Hines 0-0-0; Tabby Woods 1-0-2; Halli Wall 0 (1)-0-3; Shawna Conger 2 (1)-0-7; Maddy Jenkins 0-0-0; Hannah Haithcock 10-2-22; Abby Tackage 0-0-0; Aaralyne Estep 0-0-0; Arianna Heath 0-0-0; Haven McGraw 0-0-0. TOTALS — 16 (2)-2-40. Free throw shooting: 2 of 3 for 67 percent. Three-point field goals: Wall, Conger. Field goal shooting: 18 of 46 for 39 percent. Turnovers: 14.
NEW PHILADELPHIA — Julia Ross 2 (1)-0-7; Kate McEwan 3 (2)-0-12; Paige Kiser 0-0-0; Rachel Anderson 7-0-14; Lily Goodwin 0-0-0; Sarah Stoneman 0-0-0; Paige Wanosik 0-0-0; Audrey Harr 0-0-0; Aaliyah Currence 7-3-17; Josie Pry 5-2-12; Alyssa Miller 0-0-0. TOTALS — 24 (3)-5-62. Free throw shooting: 5 of 8 for 63 percent. Three-point field goals: McEwan, 2; Ross. Field goal shooting: 27 of 52 for 52 percent. Turnovers: 10.
Thank you to Washington scorebook-keeper Christina Taylor for her help again this season.