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Lady Demons fall to defending champion

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By Ryan Naus

When the Williamstown girls’ basketball team faced Simon Kenton for the first time this season, the Lady Demons were able to play with two-time defending region champions, but were unable to come out with a win.

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The Lady Demons took on the Lady Pioneers in the first round of the 32nd district tournament on Feb. 22 and the teams traded baskets in the first quarter, as Simon Kenton held an 11-7 lead heading into the second quarter.

Williamstown was unable to maintain their slim deficit as Simon Kenton started the quarter on a 13-0 run, as they outscored the Lady Demons 19-3 in the quarter on their way to a 57-37 victory.

“They came out and hit some shots and Ali Ponzer killed us in the first half,” coach Mark Wilhoit said. “I thought that early on we missed a lot of shots that kind of hurt us. But my players didn’t quit and it was tough emotionally on them. I’m proud of them.”

“The one thing that sticks out in my mind is the second quarter,” junior Chelsea West said. “When we played them at our place, we came out ready and played them consistently for 32 minutes. But we dug ourselves a hole that we couldn’t get out of. It’s harder physically to play from behind.”

Simon Kenton started the game with two scores to hold a 4-0 lead, but WHS junior Tori Wilhoit made two free throws and West came up with a steal and a layup to tie the game. Following a Simon Kenton three pointer, West came down the court and answered with a three pointer of her own.

Simon Kenton ended the quarter with two scores before starting the second quarter with their 13-0 run that ended when WHS junior Haley Rothwell made two free throws to make it 24-9. Simon Kenton ended the quarter with a 6-1 run to go ahead 30-10.

“I think that we could have done a little more to stay in the game,” Tori Wilhoit said. “The second quarter we were playing like we were already beat. We didn’t have the same intensity as the first quarter.”

The Lady Demons were able to close the gap to 17 in the fourth quarter, but were never able to get closer as their season ended in the district tournament.

“We had a lot of turnovers in the first half, but they are the two-time defending region champions for a reason,” coach Wilhoit said. “They are still the champion until someone knocks them off. I thought Emma Harris and Haley came in and gave us solid minutes. Everyone contributed in some sort of way.”

The Lady Demons only lose seniors Taylor Eldridge and Makayla Pendleton and hope that with a year more of experience, the team will be able to make it further next year.

“The main thing we have to do is keep everyone healthy, get them stronger and get the ball in their hands this summer,” coach Wilhoit said. “We’ll hit it hard this summer and see how we come back next year.”

“This gives us determination to come out next year and be ready to win the whole thing,” West said. “I want to win the whole thing next year.”