HILLSBORO — The Miami Trace Lady Panthers secured an outright Frontier Athletic Conference championship with a 57-46 win over the Hillsboro Lady Indians Saturday, Feb. 13.
The game was played at Hillsboro High School.
The win brought Miami Trace’s conference record to 9-1.
The McClain Lady Tigers placed second in the FAC at 8-2, followed by Jackson at 5-5.
Hillsboro placed fourth at 3-6, followed by Washington at 3-7 and Chillicothe at 1-8.
Miami Trace was led in scoring by senior Gracee Stewart with 15 points. She hit three of her team’s seven three-point field goals.
A trio of players — seniors Magarah Bloom and Delaney Eakins and sophomore Hillery Jacobs — each scored nine points.
Bloom had six rebounds and led Miami Trace with four assists. She had one three-point field goal.
Jacobs had five rebounds, three assists and two three-point baskets and Eakins had two steals.
Junior Libby Aleshire scored six points and grabbed five rebounds.
Sophomore Gracey Ferguson scored four points and led the team with seven rebounds. She also had two steals.
Junior Emma Pitstick hit one three-point basket and junior Sidney Payton scored two points.
For Hillsboro, junior Gracie Dean was the game’s leading scorer with 16 points. She had two three-point buckets.
Junior Eden Edenfield scored 14 points and junior Bryanna Bledsoe hit two threes and finished the game with nine points.
“It was a great accomplishment for the group as a whole,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Ackley said. “It hasn’t been easy this year. There have been a lot of ups and downs. We’ve had to figure a lot of new things out. But, they came together. They’ve played really well the last seven or eight games of the year. We’re playing our best basketball of the year at the best time. I couldn’t be any more proud of them.
“One of the strengths of our team is, on any given night it could be five or six or seven different kids who are capable of scoring at a high level,” Ackley said. “If we share the ball like we are capable of doing, it makes us pretty dangerous.
“Offensively, we played one of our better games at Hillsboro,” Ackley said. “We shot the ball well, but, a lot of that became possible because we were selfless. We made the extra pass and it led to easier shots and higher percentage shots.
“I was a little disappointed that we gave up 21 offensive rebounds,” Ackley said. “We didn’t play great defensively and we didn’t rebound the ball very well. But, we were fortunate enough to escape. Hillsboro has gotten a lot better over the course of the year. Coach (Chad) Fields is doing a great job. They gave us everything they had.
“Our kids knew if they won it would be an outright league title,” Ackley said. “So they were playing the game with a little extra pressure and Hillsboro had nothing to lose.”
Miami Trace led 20-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Hillsboro had its best quarter of the game in the second, outscoring Miami Trace, 20-13 to pull to within three points at halftime.
The Lady Panthers won the third quarter, 12-8 and the fourth quarter by the same total for the 57-46 final.
On Thursday, Feb. 18, Miami Trace hosted Unioto for a Division II Sectional championship.
Miami Trace won this game, 44-30. The Lady Panthers defeated Unioto in a previous regular season game, 57-44.
The Lady Panthers (now 14-5 overall) have the challenge of playing at Sheridan High School against the No. 1 team in the state in Division II (as voted by the Associated Press), the Lady Generals. That District semifinal match-up is slated for Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Thornville.
According to Coach Ackley, Sheridan has two players committed to Division I colleges and another two players who are going to play basketball at Division II schools.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 20 13 12 12 — 57
H 10 20 8 8 — 46
MIAMI TRACE — Hillary McCoy 0-0-0; Gracee Stewart 2 (3)-2-15; Magarah Bloom 2 (1)-2-9; Libby Aleshire 3-0-6; Gracey Ferguson 2-0-4; Addison Little 0-0-0; Sidney Payton 0-2-2; Mallory Lovett 0-0-0; Hillery Jacobs 0 (2)-3-9; Emma Pitstick 0 (1)-0-3; Delaney Eakins 3-3-9; Jessee Stewart 0-0-0. TOTALS — 12 (7)-12-57. Free throw shooting: 12 of 16 for 75 percent. Three-point field goals: G. Stewart, 3; Jacobs, 2; Bloom, Pitstick. Field goal shooting: 19 of 41 for 46 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 7 of 15 for 47 percent. Rebounds: 31 (6 offensive). Turnovers: 19.
HILLSBORO — Gracie Dean 3 (2)-4-16; Rylie Scott 1 (1)-0-5; Sinai Roberts 0-0-0; Eden Edenfield 5-4-14; Mya Bell 0-0-0; Susanna Barney 0-2-2; Bryanna Bledsoe 1 (2)-1-9; Jaden Moberly 0-0-0. TOTALS — 10 (5)-11-46. Free throw shooting: 11 of 19 for 58 percent. Three-point field goals: Dean, 2; Bledsoe, 2, Scott. Field goal shooting: 15 of 57 for 26 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 5 of 19 for 26 percent. Offensive rebounds: 21. Turnovers: 17.
Stats by Karl Kellenberger