WINCHESTER – The Eastern Lady Warriors looked to build off wins over Paint Valley and Bethel-Tate Thursday night when the squad welcomed the Ripley Lady Jays to town.
Behind a suffocating defense and a strong interior game from Mikayla Farris, the Lady Warriors rolled to a 42-26 victory over Ripley.
Eastern jumped out to a 12-6 lead in the first quarter thanks to five points from senior Molly Prine. Carlee Daulton scored four points in the frame for the Lady Jays.
The second was more of the same, though this time Mikayla Farris scored seven points in the quarter for Eastern, giving her team a 25-11 lead at the break.
Ripley’s offense didn’t play well in the first half, and while the team’s execution is part of the problem, head coach Chris Coleman said the Lady Warriors’ defense was also responsible.
“They’re pretty good defensively,” Coleman said. “We just don’t execute at times, we get out of whack and we start rushing things. We can’t do that, we’re just not that skilled offensively.”
The third quarter was all kinds of trouble for the Ripley offense. The team did not score a single point in the period, even though they did have chances. Allison Day scored six of Eastern’s eight points in the quarter, as the Lady Warriors suffered through a bit of an offensive drought of their own.
“We played really well in the first half defensively,” Pickerill said. “We kept them mixed up and we didn’t let them get settled in to their offense. We did a lot of the same there in the third quarter. I think we had a let-down in the fourth, and I know we went to the bench and you’re going to have trouble keeping the intensity up but I wasn’t really happy with the way we played that game. We still have things to work on.”
The Lady Jays out-scored the Lady Warriors 15-9 in the fourth quarter, with seven of those 15 points coming from Kacy Gilkerson. Ripley seemed to pick the tempo up on the offensive end once the Lady Warriors began pulling starters from the game.
“Nothing against the backups, but they weren’t putting the pressure on like the top five were,” Coleman said. “So we were a little more relaxed, we didn’t have to deal with the pressure and that helped us.”
Gilkerson finished the game with 16 of Ripley’s 26 points, earning her praise from Coleman.
“She was the bright spot on the offensive end,” Coleman said. “We started attacking a little bit, picking the pressure up and trying to speed the game up some.”
Eastern was led by Farris, who scored 13 points. Day added 10 for the Lady Warriors, who improve to 14-5 on the season. Pickerill said the plan from the get-go was to get Farris involved inside, which would lead to open shots for his perimeter players.
“We knew that coming in,” Pickerill said. “We knew that we wanted to establish our bigs and make our presence known and work from inside out. We were able to do that early, we were 10 from 15 in the paint in the first half and two for three from three early, so gameplan-wise it worked.”
The Lady Warriors return to action Monday, Jan. 25 with a road contest against the Peebles Lady Indians. Ripley will host Bethel-Tate this Saturday, Jan. 23 at 5 p.m.
— — —
Other area girls’ basketball scores:
Southern Hills Athletic Conference
Whiteoak 48, Manchester 38
Lynchburg Clay 65, Fairfield 30
Fayetteville 43, Peebles 39
North Adams 69, West Union 23
Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference
Western Brown 47, Goshen 41
Bethel-Tate 45, Georgetown 31
Blanchester 49, Felicity 44
Williamsburg 58, Clermont Northeastern 32
New Richmond 35, Batavia 28