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The Williamstown Lady Demons had set a goal at the beginning to stay above .500 for the season. With two losses to start the Grant County Invitational, they dipped below their goal, but with two wins to end the tournament, they are right back on track.
The Lady Demons defeated Dayton 47-45 to end their losing streak before dominating Silver Grove 51-23 to come in fifth place for the tournament.
“A couple things I preached was getting back to .500 and only holding Dayton to single digits in each quarter,” coach Mark Wilhoit said. “We did that for the first time. But we got a little complacent after the third quarter. We got outhustled but we were fortunate to hold on for the win.”
Jaclyn Stith started the game with a score, but then picked up two quick fouls and was forced to the bench.
Taylor Eldridge grabbed a defensive rebound and pushed the ball up the court with an outlet pass, only to get it back and hit two free throws after being fouled to put the Lady Demons ahead 5-3.
Dayton kept penetrating into the paint, getting easy baskets and ending the first quarter ahead 9-5 with Williamstown struggling to make shots.
Eldridge, who earned more playing time because Tori Wilhoit sprained her ankle earlier in the tournament, started the second quarter with a free throw. But Dayton hit a three to push their lead to 12-6.
Stith drove to the basket for a score and Chelsea West followed that up with a three pointer to make it 12-11.
Following a Dayton turnover, Williamstown retook the lead after Melissa Snow worked a rebound away from two Dayton players and scored to put the Lady Demons ahead.
After trading scores, Haley Rothwell hit a three pointer to break the tie and send the Lady Demons into the half ahead 21-18.
The Lady Demons started the third quarter sluggishly and coach Wilhoit benched his starters to settle them down. Dayton tied the game 22-22 before the starters reentered the game and set a tone that extended their lead to 32-22 before Dayton answered with a basket.
Dayton made two free throws to cut the lead to eight, but Stith banked a half court shot in at the buzzer to put the score at 35-24.
Dayton started the fourth quarter strong, eventually retaking the lead 39-38 before Stith hit a free throw to tie the game.
Snow and Stith scored consecutive buckets before Dayton regained the lead with a pair of free throws, making it 44-43.
Snow then retook the lead with a basket as Williamstown ended the game making their free throws, with Stith and Emma Harris each making a free throw for a final score of 47-45.
“Taylor played excellent,” coach Wilhoit said. “She came on and made a strong point to be a starter. She rebounded well. It was by far the best game she’s played this year.”