Lady ‘Cats lose one of a kind game 85-74


Whiteoak’s Emma Wardlow scored her 1,000th point on Thursday night as the Lady ‘Cats traveled to Paint Valley to take on the Lady Bearcats. Wardlow was also the last girl on the floor for her team. Literally.

In a game that saw 58 total fouls called, many of them questionable, the Lady Cats fell to Paint Valley with a final score of 85-74. This was the final score after an overtime period in which the Whiteoak team forced with just three players on the court.

The game Thursday night started as any other would. Two teams battling it out for a victory. Emma Wardlow needed just 12 points to reach a huge milestone for any player, the coveted 1,000th point.

The two teams played dead even in the first quarter, trading baskets, and a couple fouls, to bring the first quarter tally to 16-16.

In the second quarter, Paint Valley scored eight unanswered points in the first minute and a half before Emma Wardlow drained a three to stop the run. The two teams traded baskets for the rest of the quarter, but the Lady Bearcats were able to hold off the Whiteoak girls from taking the lead and the game went into halftime with Paint Valley up 33-31.

Just a total of 18 combined free throws were taken in the first half by the Whiteoak and Paint Valley.

Something happened between the second and third quarters because when both teams took the floor in the third frame, things were clamped down and fouls started to be more and more frequent for both teams.

Maggie Carr started the quarter giving her team the quick lead with a layup in which she was fouled on, sunk the free throw and finished off the three point play, to make it 34-31. Paint Valley was sent to the line on their first possession and made two of two from the charity stripe to take back a one-point lead. On the very next possession for Whiteoak Emma Wardlow, needing only two points for her 1,000th, drove the lane and was fouled. Both her free throws found nothing but the bottom of the net and the game was stopped and game ball presented to Wardlow. She took time to hug her teammates and her family before the game resumed.

A total of 36 points were scored in the quarter by both teams combined, only 13 of them coming by way of a shot (seven from Paint Valley and six from Whiteoak). A total of 20 free throw were shot in the quarter alone compared to 18 in the first 16 minutes. Paint Valley was able to jump out by four at the end of the quarter 52-48.

The fouls didn’t stop coming as the game entered the fourth quarter of play, as both teams were trading baskets and foul shots to try and run off with the lead. Paint Valley started to do that and midway through the first quarter, Whiteoak had run out of eligible players on their bench and were left with just four on the floor.

Things looked to get worse for the Lady ‘Cats with 2:49 left in the final frame as Chelsea Chisman collected her fifth and final foul and was sent to the bench, leaving just Emma Wardlow, Maggie Carr, and Ashleigh Harless on the floor. Whiteoak was down 68-61 at this point.

Coaches, players and fans alike always talk about a team being able to play with heart, and if there was ever a time that this was shown, it was the final two minutes and 49 seconds of the game Thursday night.

With just three players on the floor and Paint Valley still running a full court press, the Whiteoak Lady ‘Cats found a way to keep chipping away at the Bearcat lead. Impressively breaking the press with ease and using the tight officiating to their advantage, the Lady ‘Cats roared back to within one point with 1:19 left on the scoreboard. Paint Valley continued to exploit the three man defense Whiteoak inevitably had to play, but the Lady ‘Cats continued to match them point for point all the way down to the end of the game. With second left on the clock, Ashleigh Harless broke the press and dribbled the length of the floor, went straight into the Paint Valley defense and put up a shot with 2.4 second left on the clock, and her team down by one. The shot failed to hit its mark, but whistles blew, a foul was called and Harless was sent to the line to shoot two shots.

Harless, with the deafening crowd noise around her, put up the first shot and found nothing but net to tie the game at 71 a piece. Harless missed the mark with the second free throw, but there wasn’t enough time for Paint Valley to get off a shot and the game was sent to overtime.

In the overtime period, you could tell that the gas tank was running on fumes for the Lady ‘Cats left on the floor, given how three players were trying to defend five. In the final four minutes, Whiteoak was only able to muster up three points to the Lady Bearcats’ 14. In a strange happening, with 17 second left, Harless fouled out of the game leaving just Carr and Wardlow and with 1.7 seconds left, unbelievably another foul was called, this time on Carr. This was her fifth, leaving Emma Wardlow as the lone Lady Cat on the floor. As time expired, the Paint Valley girls had won the game with a final of 85-74.

“I told the girls we had a special play called three on five,” joked Randy Abbott after the game. “And when we got down to two, we had another special play. All I really told them is that we were playing on heart. There’s no other way when you’re doing that against five girls. They kept pressing us and we got ahead of their press and had open shots. Even though we were down seven with just three girls on the floor, they never stopped fighting. The team, even on the bench, could have hung their heads and gave up. They were up cheering they were in the ball game too. They were even coaching.

“Whatever the calls were, we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities throughout the game. We didn’t get our hands up on the threes. We told them they would have outside shooters and we did run out but with our hands down. You have to change their shots and we didn’t do it. We let them get by too much in the first half and then we got into foul trouble and it buried us. Our legs were going late and Emma {Wardlow] isn’t going to miss that many free throws normally. It was just too little too late as far as players and score. We may never see something like this again. I hope we don’t anyways, but I don’t know how you give enough credit to the girls. I think we’re getting better we just have to be a more disciplined team and not have as many moments of lapse. But I am very proud of these kids.”

“I’m speechless,” said Paint Valley Head Coach Regina Newland after the game. “I mean I really don’t know what to say. I’ve never seen a game like that. A bizarre game. It’s tough to play when you have that many fouls. We had girls in foul trouble, luckily, I have 14 on the bench. His girls played really hard tonight.”

“It’s awesome,” said Emma Wardlow after the game on scoring her 1,000th point. “I don’t really know how to explain it. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, all my coaches and my family especially my dad. Being with the gym with him before almost every practice was a big help.”

The Lady ‘Cats will be back in action on Saturday night when they host Blanchester.


WHS – 16 15 17 23 3 – 74

PVHS – 16 17 19 19 14 – 85

Whiteoak: Wardlow 5(1) 13/22 – 26; Carr 3(1) 9/12 – Harless 2(3) 1/2 – 14; Luman 3 0/3 – 6; Jones 3 – 6; Chisman 2/2 – 2; Thompson 1 – 2. Totals: 17(5) 25/41 – 74.

Paint Valley: Woods 8(4) 17/23 – 45; Mcfadden 3(3) 2/4 – 17; Davis 3 0/1 – 6; Newland 2 2/5 – 6; Hackworth 1 2/4 – 4; Dobbins 1 2/4 – 4; Smith (1) 0/2 – 3; Kirkbride 0/1 – 0. Totals: 18 (8) 25/44 – 85.

Reach Robert Stegbauer at 937-393-3456 ext. 1679 or on Twitter @RStegbauer.

Ashleigh Harless drains a two pointer from the corner in the first half on the game Thursday night. Harless drains a two pointer from the corner in the first half on the game Thursday night. Robert Stegbauer | The Times-Gazette

Whiteoak’s Emma Wardlow is shown hugging Michaela Luman with Maggie Carr and Ashleigh Harless (21) also shown, after scoring her 1,000th point on Thursday night against Paint Valley.’s Emma Wardlow is shown hugging Michaela Luman with Maggie Carr and Ashleigh Harless (21) also shown, after scoring her 1,000th point on Thursday night against Paint Valley. Robert Stegbauer | The Times-Gazette
Emma Wardlow score 1,000th point

By Robert Stegbauer

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