girls basketball showdown with identical 16-1 overall records and 10-1
league marks, but it was the Sherman Tanks who added a another digit to
the win column. Huntington’s early 6-4 advantage was short lived due to a 3-pointer
from Unioto’s Taylor Corcoran, and the Shermans never trailed again en
route to the 50-38 win.
CHILLICOTHE – Unioto and Huntington entered Monday’s Scioto Valley Conference girls basketball showdown with identical 16-1 overall records and 10-1 league marks, but it was the Sherman Tanks who added a another digit to the win column.
Huntington’s early 6-4 advantage was short lived due to a 3-pointer from Unioto’s Taylor Corcoran, and the Shermans never trailed again en route to the 50-38 win.
The victory puts Unioto in the driver’s seat for the SVC
championship and avenges its only loss of the season. The Shermans have a one-game lead over Huntington with just two league games
Freshmen Mackenzie Arledge and Janae Driggs combined for 13 first-half points to help Unioto build a 25-17 halftime lead.
Even with the eight-point halftime lead, her team shooting 50%, her team winning the first half turnover battle 11-4 and Huntington’s second-leading scorer Jess Fraley owning three fouls, Unioto head coach Cyndy Driggs was not about to let her team drop their intensity level in the second half. And they didn't, outscoring the Huntsmen 16-5 in the third quarter.
“You can never be satisfied against a great team like Huntington,” said Driggs when asked about her mindset at the break. “You have to play Huntington from tip to buzzer. If you don’t they will beat you. They are a team that has proven they can comeback, so we knew we had to keep playing well.”
Unioto’s defense proved to be the difference causing a Huntington team that averages single-digit turnovers per game to a season-high 22 miscues. The Tanks also limited the two-time reigning conference player-of-the-year Lydia Bridenbaugh to just 11 points on 5-for-12 shooting.
The Unioto defense was also successful in surrounding Bridenbaugh with constant double and triple teams limiting the Huntington star to just one free throw attempt. Bridenbaugh, who is most likely to be named the SVC POY for the third straight season, did grab 10 rebounds, dish out four assists, and record four steals.
Unioto’s Shiann Ray snatched half of her team’s 10 steals. The junior guard also scored a team-high 14 points, dished out four assists, and grabbed three rebounds. Chloe Cottrell and Driggs each added 10 points. Ray, Cottrell, and Driggs – all basically point-guards if need be – were able to spread out Huntington’s defense in the fourth quarter to milk the clock.
“So much of our success is based on controlling tempo, and we just didn’t do that tonight,” said Huntington head coach Steve Bridenbaugh. “Our turnover total was really high compared to usual and a lot of that credit goes to Unioto. We just didn’t take care of the basketball and it cost us.”
Huntington was led by Bridgett Neighbors with 12 points in just 18 minutes of play, and Fraley, who battled foul trouble all night, finished with seven points.
Even though the win does put Unioto in control of its own destiny, the Shermans still have some work to do to complete the championship season. Unioto will host Paint Valley Thursday night before traveling to Piketon Saturday.
“One at a time,” Driggs said of her team’s approach. “This was a big one, but we still have some work to do.”
Huntington will also have its hands full in trying to keep pace at a game behind, because the Lady Huntsmen first host Adena on Thursday before traveling to Zane Trace for a rematch versus the team responsible for its only loss entering Monday night’s game at Unioto.
Fortunately for these two league rivals, the tournament trail takes them down different roads as Unioto is a Division II school while Huntington is in Division III.