FRANKFORT — The old adage regarding how difficult it can be to beat a team three times in one season came into play at Adena High School Saturday afternoon when the Miami Trace Lady Panthers took on the Cavaliers of Chillicothe High School.
Back on Jan. 20, at Chillicothe High School, Miami Trace slipped past Chillicothe, 46-44.
On Dec. 12, at Miami Trace, the Lady Panthers defeated the Cavaliers, 48-45.
Saturday, the Chillicothe defense stifled Miami Trace as the Cavaliers came away with a 32-19 victory over the Lady Panthers to capture a Sectional championship.
Miami Trace ends a very fine 2015-16 season with a record of 21-3.
They were outright SCOL champions on the season with a record of 13-1.
Chillicothe improves to 16-8 and will play Sheridan in the District semifinals at Southeastern High School Thursday at 6:15 p.m.
Miami Trace was led by junior Samantha Ritenour with eight points.
Junior Hanna Reisinger had six points and sophomore Tanner Bryant, often triple-teamed when she had the ball, scored five points.
Chillicothe sophomore Shawnee Smith led her team with 16 points.
Junior Osh Brown had six points and junior Shawntel Smith scored four points.
Miami Trace sophomore Victoria Fliehman, who sat out the team’s first 11 games after transferring from Wilmington High School, had suffered an injury early in the Sectional semifinal game against Logan Elm and was unable to play against Chillicothe.
“Once they made some adjustments, or, once they got ahead six or eight points and had to stretch us out, they are just so athletic across the board, our athletes, as good as they are, we really struggled to match-up with them physically playing man against them,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Ackley said. “If you hold a team like that to 32 points, you’re supposed to win the game. We just didn’t do well enough on offense today.”
Ritenour scored the first basket of the game at the 5:20 mark of the first quarter.
Bryant hit two free throws with 4:48 to play in the first quarter.
It looked as though Chillicothe would not score in the first quarter, but Essence Devlin hit her only basket of the game, a three-pointer, right at the end of the quarter for a 4-3 score.
Points would continue to be hard to come by in the second quarter.
There were several held balls, or jump balls, in the second quarter; at least six in the period. It seemed that Chillicothe was able to instigate most of these jump balls by surrounding whomever had the ball for Miami Trace with as many as three players, making it extremely difficult for the Lady Panthers to run their offensive sets.
Chillicothe took a 5-4 lead at the six-minute mark of the second quarter.
Ritenour made a pair of free throws at the 4:11 mark of the second for a 6-5 Miami Trace lead.
Ritenour had a rebound and put-back with 2:40 to play in the half to make it 8-5, Lady Panthers.
Chillicothe had a two-point basket and two free throws and Bryant made a free throw to make it a 9-9 game at the half.
“We knew today with their defense that the game had to be in the low 30s,” Ackley said. “I made a mistake by having us press late in the second quarter. That falls on me. We foul, they’re in the bonus, they get two shots.
“We wanted to make everything they did today be over the top,” Ackley said. “We wanted to take away transition shots, take away free throws and take away offensive rebounds put-backs.
“Our kids fought out there,” Ackley said. “They gave 110 percent. I couldn’t be more proud of each and everyone of them. This is the tightest group of kids I have ever coached. It starts with our seniors, Lexi Schwartz, Harmonee Napier and Kyla Johnston. They have led in a great way. We’ll never be able to replace those kids.
“That was the roughest end of the year speech I ever had to give to our kids,” Ackley said. “Every kid in there was in tears. I could coach another 30 years and never have a better group of kids.”
Chillicothe outscored Miami Trace 8-0 to start the third quarter.
A 17-9 lead at this point seemed much larger than an eight-point deficit might otherwise seem, as Miami Trace suffered six turnovers in the period.
Reisinger scored Miami Trace’s first basket of the half with 1:10 to play in the third.
The teams traded scores in the final moments, with Reisinger hitting another shot, answered by Osh Brown, to give Chillicothe a 21-13 lead with eight minutes to play.
Sensing the urgency of the moment, Miami Trace turned up its defensive pressure to start the fourth quarter.
Ritenour scored just 20 seconds into the period. A steal led to a quick basket by Bryant, to cut the margin to four, 21-17 with seven minutes to play.
No one could have guessed at that time that Miami Trace would not score again until near the very end, with one more basket from Reisinger.
In that roughly seven-minute time-span, Chillicothe outscored Miami Trace, 9-0.
Chillicothe scored after Reisinger’s basket to make the final, 32-19.
In post-season recognition, Miami Trace had four players with All-SCOL honors.
Victoria Fliehman and Tanner Bryant were named First Team, All-SCOL. Hanna Reisinger and Samantha Ritenour were named Second Team, All-SCOL.
Ackley just finished his fourth year as Miami Trace head coach.
The Lady Panthers finished 19-5 the first two seasons, then went 6-16 last season and 21-3 this season for a record to date of 65-29 over four years.
“Every time Bryant turned around, there was Osh (Brown) right in front of her,” Chillicothe head coach Patrick Beard said. “She really made the defense go. Then, everyone stepped up their intensity and followed right behind her.
“We told the girls at halftime that we needed to stop settling for quick jump shots,” Beard said. “We didn’t give (Miami Trace) time to breakdown, defensively. Once we started to get to the fourth and fifth side of the floor, we started to see those holes widen up. That’s when we attacked those holes.
“You see our guards maturing, making better decisions with the ball,” Beard said. “If we can make crisp passes and take our time and stay focused, we’ll be able to get the job done.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 4 5 4 6 — 19
C 3 6 12 11 — 32
MIAMI TRACE — Kyla Johnston 0-0-0; Cassidy Lovett 0-0-0; Hanna Reisinger 3-0-6; Harmonee Napier 0-0-0; Tanner Bryant 1-3-5; Alexis Schwartz 0-0-0; Samantha Ritenour 3-2-8. TOTALS — 7-5-19. Free throw shooting: 5 of 8 for 63 percent. Three-point field goals: none. Combined field goal shooting: 7 of 37 for 19 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 0 of 6. Turnovers: 18. Rebounds: 22 (3 offensive). Steals: 9. Assists: 0.
CHILLICOTHE — Hayden Price 0-0-0; Tanea Cousins 0-0-0; Shawnee Smith 5-6-16; Shawna Smith 0-0-0; Essence Devlin 0 (1)-0-3; Shawntel Smith 2-0-4; Osh Brown 3-0-6; Jasmine Jordan 0-1-1; Rylee Putnam 1-0-2. TOTALS — 11 (1)-7-32. Free throw shooting: 7 of 10 for 70 percent. Three-point field goal: Devlin. Combined field goal shooting: 12 of 36 for 33 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 1 of 10 for 10 percent. Turnovers: 13. Offensive rebounds: 5.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1