By Garth Shanklin
The West Clermont Lady Wolves made quite the mark on the court in their return to the Buckeye State. After four games in Tennessee, in which the Lady Wolves placed third in the Andrew Johnson Bank Tournament, West Clermont returned home to take on Eastern Cincinnati Conference foe Anderson.
Thanks to a balanced inside/outside attack, the Lady Wolves defeated the Lady Redskins 64-32.
West Clermont jumped ahead 21-7 after the first quarter thanks to seven points from Alexis Starks and six from Dakota Reeves. Kirsten Click also chipped in a three pointer. The Lady Wolves held Anderson to single-digit points in three of the four quarters, while scoring at least 11 points in every period on offense. Jasmine Hale scored four points to lead the squad in the second quarter, then added two more in the third and fourth periods. Kendall Hale hit a pair of three-point shots in the third period, while Reeves finished the game the same way she started: with a pair of three-point baskets. She also added a free-throw.
In the end, Starks and Reeves led all scorers with 13 points. Starks also led the Lady Wolves with six rebounds, a number matched by Kaylin Burdick. Click and Jasmine Hale finished with nine points, while Kendall Hale added eight off the bench.
West Clermont head coach Jeff Click said the team played well on offense in Tennessee and was able to continue that trend back in Ohio.
“We had a good trip to Tennessee, and I thought we played well offensively [there],” Click said. “It kind of carried through to tonight. They have the ability to do that, we have a lot of good offensive players. I’m probably more happy with the 18 assists, we made the extra pass. Usually when you play the game the right way, you make the extra pas and get the easy play, you’re rewarded for it.”
The team’s defense also played well against the Lady Redskins, forcing 18 turnovers, which in turn led to 30 fast-break points.
“We’re long and we can be athletic,” Click said. “[Anderson’s] young, so you kind of take advantage of that. That always makes it a little easier to get those extra possessions.
In addition tot he defensive prowess, the Lady Wolves made Anderson pay on offense from inside and outside the arc. Starks scored 10 of her 13 points inside the three-point line, while 12 of Reeves’ 13 points came on three-point shots. Click said he felt the team as a whole was balanced on offense.
“We took 27 threes,” Click said. “They played zone the whole game, but I still think we got the ball inside enough. We have a lot of girls who like to shoot the three. We don’t want to fall in love with that, so we’ve been working on getting the ball inside and I thought we did a good job with that.”
The Lady Wolves then hit the road for a contest against Loveland on Saturday, Jan. 6. Click said before the game the squad would be in for a tough task.
“That’s a big one,” Click said. “They’re a good group. They were young last year, they’ve grown up. Obviously they’re playing very well. It’ll be a good test for us, we’re looking forward to it. We’re going to have to handle the pressure, focus on us and take care of the ball. It’ll be a good early-season league test, it’s the first time we’ve played them.”
The Lady Wolves battled Loveland from buzzer to buzzer, but in the end West Clermont came up one point short in a 68-67 loss. Kendall Hale finished with 13 points, Jasmine Hale tallied 18, and Reeves added 16. Starks and Kendall Hale fouled out of the game, while Kaylin Burdick finished the game with four fouls.
West Clermont returns to the court for a non-conference tilt on the road at McAuley on Thursday, Jan. 11. The team then returns to Eastern Cincinnati Conference play with a home contest against Turpin on Wednesday, Jan. 20.