There are lots of old sayings in sports, such as, ‘it’s not over ‘til it’s over,’ or, that’s ‘par for the course’ and the ever-popular ‘take one for the team.’
Another old adage, referring to how difficult it can be to beat the same team three times in a season, was most apropos when the Chillicothe Lady Cavaliers visited Washington High School on a frigid Wednesday night.
In the 2021 COVID version of the tournament, the format is the higher-seeded team gets to host on its home court, rather than several teams gathering at a neutral site.
Washington won the two regular season meetings with Chillicothe, 46-35 and 40-35. Could they execute a sweep of the three games?
On Wednesday, scoring was at a bit more of a premium.
After taking an 8-0 lead, Washington had to hold on, but they did what they needed to do to post a 34-30 victory.
Washington will now play at the No. 1 seed Sheridan. That game is scheduled to be played Thursday.
Junior Jeleeya Smith was the game’s leading scorer for the Lady Lions with 11 points.
Senior Emily Semler scored eight points, senior Mallory Hicks scored five, sophomore Allie Mongold had four points and a trio of players — junior Aaralyne Estep, sophomore Megan Sever and freshman Calleigh Wead-Salmi — each scored two points.
Sophomore Avery Erslan led the Lady Cavaliers with nine points.
Junior Emma Barnes and sophomore Jacey Harding each scored seven points, junior Emma Fromm had five points and sophomore Paige Huggins added two points.
Washington held a 10-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
By the half, the Lady Lions were in front, 20-13.
The game tightened up even more in the second half.
As it turned out, Washington led the entire game.
Chillicothe was able to pull to within one point, at 20-19, before Washington ended the third quarter on a 6-2 mini-run to take a 26-21 lead.
It remained a one possession game until late in the fourth quarter.
Washington held a one-point lead three different times in the final quarter, but each time, Chillicothe simply was not able to take advantage.
Mongold scored giving Washington a 28-25 lead, only to see Chillicothe score and once more pull to within one point.
Washington turned the ball over on its next possession, but Chillicothe missed its next two shot attempts.
Hicks made one free throw to set the score at 29-27.
Chillicothe missed its next two shots and Washington missed one shot and also had a turnover.
Following a time out with 2:24 to play, the Lady Cavs made one of two free throws to again make it a one-point game, 29-28.
After another Washington turnover, and a Chillicothe timeout, the Lady Lions stole the ball, but nothing came of this possession.
With 1:03 to play, Hicks stepped to the free throw line and relieved some of the tension, making a pair of shots for a 31-28 tally.
Chillicothe missed another shot and fouled, but Washington missed the front end of the one and bonus.
It was then Washington’s turn to foul and with 34 seconds remaining, Chillicothe made one of two free throws to set the score at 31-29.
Smith went to the foul line next and made one of two throws.
She missed the second attempt, but secured the offensive rebound and was fouled again.
This time, Smith made both free throws.
Chillicothe hit one of two free throws in the waning seconds for the final, 34-30.
Stats courtesy of Tim Skaggs, WCHO radio, had Washington making 13 of 41 field goal attempts for 32 percent. Washington was 0 of 9 from three-point range.
The Lady Lions were 6 of 10 from the line for 60 percent and won the battle of the boards, 27 to 18, including pulling down 10 offensive rebounds.
Chillicothe made 9 of 43 shots from the field for 21 percent. The Lady Cavs made 1 of 8 three-point shot attempts for 13 percent. They made 11 of 16 free throws for 69 percent.
Washington had 15 turnovers to 13 for Chillicothe.