The Miami Trace Lady Panthers followed their victory over Hillsboro that secured the outright Frontier Athletic Conference championship with a home tournament game against Unioto Thursday, Feb. 18.
Miami Trace defeated the Shermans, 44-30.
The win lifts Miami Trace’s overall record to 14-5.
Miami Trace will now play a District semifinal game on the home court of the number one seed in the tournament and the number one Division II team in the state, as ranked by the Associated Press, the Sheridan Lady Generals, Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The winner of that game will host a District championship game on Friday, Feb. 26.
Senior Magarah Bloom and sophomore Hillery Jacobs shared game high-scoring honors for Miami Trace, each with 12 points. Jacobs had two three-point baskets.
Bloom led the team with eight rebounds and five steals and tied with senior Gracee Stewart with two assists.
Stewart hit one three and scored six points. She also had six rebounds.
Junior Emma Pitstick scored six points and had five rebounds.
Senior Delaney Eakins scored four points and had five rebounds and junior Libby Aleshire scored four points.
For Unioto, junior Avery Miller led with 10 points.
Freshman Amaris Betts scored eight points, including connecting on two of her team’s four three-point baskets.
“We had not practiced since before the Hillsboro game,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Ackley said. “It had been five days since we’d been in a gym. So, we knew the effort had to be great. We had to rebound the ball well and defend very well, because, offensively, we weren’t going to be nearly as sharp as what we normally are; and we weren’t going to have legs late in the game because of conditioning.
“It was a pretty sloppy game, but the kids played very hard,” Ackley said. “They held a good Unioto team to 30 points. (Unioto) made (nine) field goals, which we were very happy with.
“I thought the key to the game was our interior presence,” Ackley said. “All three of our seniors stepped up and made big plays. We out-rebounded them, 36 to 16. We were very happy with that stat.
“We shared the ball very well again,” Ackley said. “I thought it led to some easy baskets.
“Bean Jacobs had a good game for us,” Ackley said. “She shot the ball well.
“Magarah Bloom, Delany Eakins and Emma Pitstick all made big plays throughout the game,” Ackley said. “Early in the fourth quarter, Magarah scored nine straight points and that got us up by 15 or 16 at one time. They made a 10-0 run, and we kind of responded. Emma made some big foul shots for us.
“Gracee Stewart had a big-time hustle deflection that led to a turnover and transition for us,” Ackley said. “I thought that our experience was a big factor. Unioto plays a lot of young kids that are very athletic, but they just hadn’t been in that situation before.”
As for Sheridan, Ackley said that the Lady Generals have two players committed to Division I colleges and another two going to play college basketball at Division II schools.
“They have solid guards who shoot it very well,” Ackley said. “It’s a very formidable match-up for us. We’ll have to play one of our better games all year to compete.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 8 13 5 18 — 44
U 10 7 3 10 — 30
MIAMI TRACE — Gracee Stewart 0 (1)-3-6; Magarah Bloom 4-4-12; Libby Aleshire 2-0-4; Gracey Ferguson 0-0-0; Sidney Payton 0-0-0; Hillery Jacobs 3 (2)-0-12; Emma Pitstick 1-4-6; Delaney Eakins 2-0-4. TOTALS — 12 (3)-11-44. Free throw shooting: 11 of 19 for 58 percent. Three-point field goals: Jacobs, 2; Stewart. Field goal shooting: 15 of 37 for 41 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 3 of 9 for 33 percent. Steals: 11. Assists: 6. Turnovers: 27. Rebounds: 36.
UNIOTO — Karlee Renner 0-0-0; Paris Debord 1-0-2; Alexis Book 1 (1)-0-5; Addison Mohan 0-0-0; Sophie Coleman 0-1-1; Avery Miller 2 (1)-3-10; Kylie Paul 0-2-2; Amelia Uhrig 0-0-0; Amaris Betts 0 (2)-2-8; Ny Hatfield 0-0-0; Erin Callahan 0-0-0; Jaelyn Himes 0-0-0; Carissa Wheeler 1-0-2. TOTALS — 5 (4)-8-30. Free throw shooting: 8 of 14 for 57 percent. Three-point field goals: Betts, 2; Book, Miller. Field goal shooting: 9 of 38 for 24 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 4 of 22 for 18 percent. Turnovers: 25. Rebounds: 16 (6 offensive).
Stats by Karl Kellenberger