The Washington Lady Blue Lions hosted the Miami Trace Lady Panthers Saturday for a Frontier Athletic Conference rivalry game, Fayette County style.
Miami Trace was looking to win the FAC outright, after taking a one-game lead in the standings with a win over McClain earlier in the week.
Washington was looking to send its seniors out on a high note in their final game in their home gym.
The Lady Lions rose to the occasion, playing their best, most complete game of the season and coming away with a 56-48 victory.
Back on Dec. 21, Miami Trace defeated Washington, 49-33.
Washington senior Shawna Conger and Miami Trace senior Shay McDonald both led their teams, each with 20 points. Conger had a double-double, leading the game with 12 rebounds. Conger also had four assists.
McDonald led Miami Trace with seven rebounds.
Washington sophomore Jeleeya Tyree-Smith scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds and senior Abby Tackage scored a career-high eight points.
Senior Halli Wall had five points and four rebounds for the Lady Lions.
For Miami Trace, junior Magarah Bloom had 12 points and junior Delaney Eakins scored seven. Eakins had five rebounds and Bloom had four.
Washington sophomore Aaralyne Estep had three rebounds.
“It’s hard to put into words right now,” Washington head coach Samantha Leach said. “Every single one of our kids just played with such heart. They showed grit and toughness.
“We were able to put together four quarters,” Leach said. “We’ve had some really great games this year, but we’ve struggled to put together four solid quarters. Tonight we put it all together. I felt like everyone who subbed in did their part.
“I can’t say enough about our seniors,” Leach said. “Abby Tackage had a huge game, right from the get-go. And Halli and Shawna were solid, as always. Those three did a great job leading our team. We’re just really proud of those three kids. We wanted to send them out the right way.
“The support that this game gets from the community is just outstanding,” Leach said. “We talked about playing with no excuses and having no regrets when we walked off the court. I can say that they did that tonight.”
“I thought we came out and executed in the third quarter early, exactly how we wanted,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Ackley said. “We ran our stuff. Give Washington Court House all the credit in the world. They answered the run.
“There are certain nights in basketball when you are just not winning,” Ackley said. “Tonight was one of those for us. Court House made play after play. When they had to make plays, they made them.
“You know Conger is going to get her points, she’s really good,” Ackley said. “She’s a First Team, All-league player for three years. Tyree-Smith was the difference maker. We knew she was an x-factor, because she’s a tough match-up for us.
“How big was Tackage,” Ackley said. “Dye made a big play in the fourth quarter. When we get beat, we tell it like it is, they just out-played us. We weren’t the better team tonight.”
The game was played before a very large crowd in the Washington High School gymnasium.
Washington took a 6-0 lead with two baskets from Tackage and two free throws from Conger.
Bloom and McDonald scored for Miami Trace and Tyree-Smith and Conger responded for Washington to give the Lady Lions a 10-4 lead with 2:30 to play in the first quarter.
Conger scored and senior Halli Wall scored on either side of a three-point bucket from Eakins.
Sophomore Emma Pitstick hit a three for the Lady Panthers to put the score at 14-10 Washington after one complete.
The Lady Lions expanded their lead to as many as eight points with 3:24 to play in the first half.
Tackage scored again and Bloom hit a three to make it a two-point game.
Conger and Wall hit back-to-back threes to make it 24-17, Lady Lions.
McDonald scored and freshman Gracey Ferguson hit a pair of free throws, followed by a three from McDonald to pull Miami Trace to within one point, 25-24, with 2:04 to go in the half.
McDonald hit a free throw and Conger scored to set the score at 27-25, Washington at the half.
Miami Trace sophomore Libby Aleshire scored the first bucket of the second half, tying the game, 27-27. It was the second tie of the game.
Tackage scored, then McDonald hit a free throw and Bloom scored to give Miami Trace its first lead of the night, 30-29 with 5:57 to play in the third quarter.
The lead changed hands with freshman Kendall Dye scoring for Washington and Eakins countering for Miami Trace.
Bloom then got an offensive rebound and scored to give Miami Trace its biggest lead, 34-31.
Conger hit a three that tied the game and after a couple of empty possessions for both teams, Tyree-Smith hit a three to give Washington a 37-34 lead.
The back and forth continued.
McDonald scored and Tyree-Smith hit another three that gave the Lady Lions a 40-36 lead.
With three seconds to play in the quarter, freshman Kaelin Pfeifer had a steal and quickly scored after a missed free throw by Conger, giving Washington a 43-37 lead after three quarters of often frenetic action.
Fans of both teams were doubtlessly on edge as the play continued into the fourth quarter.
McDonald and Eakins scored to pull Miami Trace to within two points, 43-41.
Dye scored with 5:40 to play and Pitstick had a steal and scored from that to make it 45-43, Lady Lions.
Tyree-Smith, who led the game in the number of times she hit the floor going after a loose ball or on any number of other plays, hit another three with 3:35 remaining, giving Washington a 48-43 lead.
Bloom scored, but Conger had an offensive rebound and put-back to make it 50-45, Washington with just over two minutes to go in the game.
The next scoring was a pair of free throws from Tyree-Smith with 1:34 to play.
She went to the line approximately 40 game seconds later, hitting two more throws to give Washington its biggest lead of the night to that point, 54-45.
Conger had a steal and scored with 41.8 seconds left to put the game at 56-45.
McDonald hit a three with 16 seconds left for the final points of the game, leaving the final tally at 56-48.
Washington improves to 11-10 overall and finishes the FAC at 5-5.
Miami Trace is now 16-6 overall, finishing at 8-2 in the conference. McClain defeated Hillsboro Saturday, 61-38 to finish at 8-2 in the FAC, sharing the title with Miami Trace. The Lady Tigers are 15-6 overall.
Miami Trace’s next game will be against Waverly in the Sectional tournament Saturday at Adena High School at noon.
The winner of that game advances to the District semifinals at Southeastern High School where they will likely play the No. 2 seed Sheridan. That District semifinal, whomever is involved, is slated for Friday, Feb. 21 at 6:15 p.m.
Washington has a make-up game at Logan Wednesday and will open tournament play taking on Fairfield Union Saturday, Feb. 15 at 1:45 p.m. (following the Miami Trace-Waverly game) at Adena High School.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 14 13 16 13 — 56
MT 10 15 12 11 — 48
WASHINGTON — Allie Mongold 0-0-0; Aaralyne Estep 0-0-0; Kaelin Pfeifer 1-0-2; Kendall Dye 2-0-4; Jeleeya Tyree-Smith 2 (3)-4-17; Abby Tackage 4-0-8; Natalie Woods 0-0-0; Halli Wall 1 (1)-0-5; Shawna Conger 4 (2)-6-20; Megan Sever 0-0-0. TOTALS — 14 (6)-10-56. Free throw shooting: 10 of 16 for 63 percent. Three-point field goals: Tyree-Smith, 3; Conger, 2; Wall. Field goal shooting: 20 of 45 for 44 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 6 of 11 for 54 percent. Turnovers: 11. Rebounds: 27 (11 offensive). Steals: 8. Assists: 10.
MIAMI TRACE — Sidney Payton 0-0-0; Aubrey McCoy 0-0-0; Shay McDonald 5 (2)-4-20; Magarah Bloom 3 (1)-3-12; Libby Aleshire 1-0-2; Gracey Ferguson 0-2-2; Hillery Jacobs 0-0-0; Emma Pitstick 1 (1)-0-5; Delaney Eakins 2 (1)-0-7. TOTALS — 12 (5)-9-48. Free throw shooting: 9 of 14 for 64 percent. Three-point field goals: McDonald, 2; Bloom, Pitstick, Eakins. Field goal shooting: 17 of 45 for 38 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 5 of 12 for 42 percent. Rebounds: 30 (9 offensive). Turnovers: 13. Assists: 5. Steals: 6.