The girls Division II Southeast District Basketball Tournament for 2023 got underway Monday at Washington High School with the No. 16 seed Lady Lions hosting the No. 17 seed Hillsboro Lady Indians.
Both members of the Frontier Athletic Conference, the two teams each won on the home team’s court during the regular season. Washington won at Hillsboro, 47-41, on Dec. 14 and Hillsboro won at Washington, 55-41, on Jan. 25.
Monday Washington jumped out to a 15-1 lead and went on to post a 49-35 victory.
The 49 points is a new season-high offensive output for the Lady Lions. Washington’s previous highest score was 48 points in a 60-48 loss to Waverly on Jan. 28.
Washington now gets set to travel to Proctorville, located along the Ohio River just across from West Virginia in Lawrence County, to take on the No. 1 seed out of 18 teams in the Southeast District Tournament, the Fairland Dragons, on Thursday.
Fairland is 22-0 and has defeated its competition this year by an average of 33.5 points per game. The Dragons are ranked No. 2 in the state in Division II by the Associated Press in the final season poll released Monday.
“We weren’t thinking ahead by any means,” Washington head coach Samantha Bihl said. “We were just thinking of today. Any time our girls step on the court, our girls compete. Tonight I felt like we executed our game plan. We talked about focusing on the work and not the result that we want. I felt we were more consistent through four quarters tonight. We focused on what we needed to do to get the result that we wanted. Tonight I felt we pushed the ball more in transition. We were able to get some buckets off some of their missed shots.”
Hillsboro head coach Heather Storer said, “We definitely got off to a really slow start. It took a while to get the girls going. Any time you dig a hole early, it’s really tough to get out of, especially when you have a team like Court House that has some quickness and some speed; just aggressive kids who want to win. I thought we fought well for a while, then we got tired. Digging that hole early definitely hurt.”
Storer reflected on the 2022-23 season.
“First year here at Hillsboro, I didn’t know any of these kids,” the Hillsboro coach said. “We started off completely fresh, trying to get them to understand my mentality as a coach and me trying to understand what each of these kids can do. That took a growing period of time. I feel like that was up until Christmas. Then we just hit this point where everything started to click and the kids started to understand what we wanted on the defensive end and the offensive end.
“We found what works for us. It’s been a really fun season. They are a great group of girls. I told them in (the locker room), ‘I’m not sure what I’m going to do tomorrow night. I’m going to miss you guys.’ It’s always tough to finish out once you’ve made so much progress throughout the season. Hopefully we can carry that into next season. We have no seniors, so I get them all back next year. That’s the exciting thing about next year. We were super young. (This) was just a growing year for us.”
Washington unofficially made 6 of 14 shots in the first quarter to 1 of 9 for Hillsboro to take a 15-4 lead.
Hillsboro pulled to within five points with 4:10 to play in the first half. By the halftime buzzer, Washington held a 22-13 lead over Hillsboro.
The Lady Lions led most of the third quarter by 11 points, until late in the period when they were able to extend the lead to as many as 14, which was the margin going into the fourth quarter, 36-22.
Washington held a lead of as many as 18 points midway through the fourth quarter. Hillsboro got to within 12 points before Kaithlyn Maquilling hit the final bucket of the game, resulting in a 49-35 decision.
Washington (5-18 overall) plays at the No. 1 Fairland (22-0) Thursday at 7 p.m. The winner will be a sectional champion and will play the winner of Thursday’s Waverly at Circleville game on Monday, Feb. 20 at Logan High School.
Hillsboro finishes the 2022-23 season with a record of 4-19.
In one other Southeast District tournament game Monday, No. 15 seed Vinton County defeated No. 18 seed Gallia Academy, 48-36. Vinton County will next play at No. 2 seed Unioto (22-0) Thursday at 7 p.m.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 15 7 14 13 — 49
H 4 9 9 13 — 35
WASHINGTON — Kaithlyn Maquilling 1-0-2; Allie Mongold 2 (1)-2-9; Megan Mongold 0-0-0; Calleigh Wead-Salmi 4-4-12; Eliana Racine 1-1-3; Megan Sever 3-1-7; Natalie Woods 1 (2)-0-8; Maggi Wall 1 (1)-3-8; Calee Ellars 0-0-0. TOTALS — 13 (4)-11-49. Free throw shooting: 11 of 15 for 73 percent. Three-point field goals: Woods, 2; A. Mongold, Wall. Field goal shooting: 17 of 50 for 34 percent. Turnovers: 12.
HILLSBORO — Kayla Seeling 0 (1)-2-5; Peighton Bledsoe 2-1-5; Kobie Miles 0-1-1; Riley Scott 1-0-2; Reagan Estes 0-0-0; Addyson Miles 1 (1)-2-7; Kyra Boyd 0 (1)-0-3; Morgan Garman 0-0-0; Gracie Thoroman 0-0-0; Kallie Fraley 0-1-1; Blake Herdman 1 (1)-1-6; Maddie Taylor 2-1-5. TOTALS — 7 (4)-9-35. Free throw shooting: 9 of 16 for 56 percent. Three-point field goals: Seeling, Boyd, A. Miles, Herdman. Field goal shooting: 11 of 41 for 27 percent. Turnovers: 12.