Depleted Shenandoah holds off Barnesville for 52-44 win

Mike Hughes
For The Daily Jeffersonian
Barnesville senior Rylee Stephens (30) pulls down a rebound during Monday's match-up with visiting Shenandoan High.

BARNESVILLE — Shenandoah head coach Sami Schott got to find out Thursday what her team could do without senior Ashlei Wheeler on the floor.

The experience was far from the top of her holiday wish list, but after watching her youthful roster hold off Barnesville for an 52-44 on Monday to improve to 5-2, she liked what she saw.

Wheeler, was sidelined with a minor back injury, and may return Saturday but most likely next week. That means the youthful Zeps will get a baptism by fire Thursday when they host Fort Frye. But for this night, the coach was all smiles.

“We talked to the team and even (Ashlei) talked to them and they knew they had to step up,” Schott said. “I think now the girls realize what their potential is. It’s unfortunate it took Wheeler being out to realize it, but they know they can do it now.

“We needed that added pressure and (Monday) they handled themselves well.”

Playing without their leading scorer against a more experienced and considerably taller lineup, the Zeps held their own early.

Behind eight points from Halle Markovich and six from Anna Yater, Barnesville used its height to its advantage in taking a 14-13 lead after one.

Shenandoah freshman Mya Leach drives past a Barnesville defender during Monday's girls basketball match-up at Barnesville High School.

The Shamrocks also outscored the visitors 24-22 in the second half. There was just that problem of the second quarter to contend with.

Turnovers, missed opportunities, and Shenandoah’s speed proved too much in the quarter as a 1-point lead turned into a 10-point halftime deficit.

“We lost it in the second quarter,” said Barnesville coach Jason Perkins as his team fell to 3-4. “I figured we would have to go man to try to make something happen. Anna Yater played a heck of a game and we were trying to feed her the ball and we need to do more of that. But they have a lot of smaller, quicker players and we had to go smaller ourselves.”

Yater actually hit two buckets on second-chance opportunities early in the third to cut Shenandoah’s lead to 30-25. But the ’Rocks could get no closer.

“I don’t know what it is, but we just look tired,” Perkins said. “We have to be able to put a full game together and, if we can do so, we could be dangerous.”

Markovich finished with a game-high 19 points, but was held to two during the middle two periods with senior Rylee Stephens added 11 for Barnesville.

Schott was impressed with her team’s ability to rise to the occasion. Wheeler’s absence meant fellow senior Mackenzie Lynch was the only non-sophomore or freshman to step on the court. She finished with nine points and six assists.

“I’m not sure what Mackenzie ended up with, but she really stepped up and especially without her counterpart out there,” Schott said. “It put added pressure on her, but she handled herself tremendously.”

Freshman Mya Leach led the Shamrocks with 16 points and nine rebounds and is developing into a viable No. 1-type threat. Frosh post Brylee May added eight and eight and fellow frosh Kinsley Brown is responding nicely to her increased role.

Brown missed more time than anyone this preseason as she was forced to quarantine an entire week before the rest of the team missed two weeks.

She didn’t play in the varsity game in the opener against Eastern. But her minutes, and production, have steadily increased since.

“That set her back a bit as we went over a bunch, so she wasn’t familiar with the plays, the defenses,” Schott said. “But she’s worked hard to get to where she’s at now, they all have, and I’ll take it.”

Brown finished with nine points to go with a pair of steals.

Barnesville captured the two-quarter junior varsity contest, 14-12. The Shamrocks were led by Ellie Thompson’s seven points while Kadence Noll led the Zeps with six.

NEXT —  Both teams return to acton Thursday at 6 p.m. with home games, Barnesville will welcome Shadyside, while Shenandoah will play host to Fort Frye.

Monroe Central 51, Caldwell 26

WOODSFIELD — Host Monroe Central picked up a 51-26 victory over Caldwell High in girls hardwood action on Monday evening.

The Lady Seminoles took control early with a 24-76 lead after the first stanza with Krista Friday pumping in 10 of her game-high 23 points in the quarter.

Monroe Central extended its lead out to 36-9 with a 12-3 scoring edge in the second period.

Senior Cayton Secrest paced the Lady Redskins with eight points, three steals, three blocks, five assists along with five rebounds. Madi Mumaw chipping in with five points and a team-high nine rebounds, while Jules Hood tallied six points and Sheridan Archer finished with five markers. 

In the junior varsity match-up Monroe Central slipped past Caldwell for a 34-31 victory. Jaysa Henthorn led Monroe Central with 11 points and Gabby Guiler led Caldwell with seven.

NEXT — Caldwell will host Shenandoah on Wednesday, December 30 at 6 p.m.