By Wade Linville –
The No. 1 seed Eastern Lady Warriors advanced to Southeast District Division III Tournament play at Waverly on March 3 after topping Nelsonville-York 45-21 in the district semifinals on Feb. 23.
The Lady Warriors were scheduled to take on No. 2 seed Southeastern in the district championship game on Friday.
The competition only gets tougher as teams advance further into post-season tournament play, and on March 3 at Waverly the Lady Warriors and their head coach Kevin Pickerill expected to face-off against one of their strongest opponents of the season.
The Southeastern varsity girls basketball squad held a 17-1 overall record at the time of the tournament draw and would capture a sectional title with a 65-26 win over No. 10 seed New Lexington.
Southeastern went on to defeat No. 3 seed Ironton 61-55 in a district semifinal game that saw triple overtime.
The Lady Warriors stood at an impressive 23-1 overall record after their district semifinal win over Nelsonville-York and if they continue to perform as they have for the majority of the season, they should soon find themselves headed to the regional tournament.
The Lady Warriors are led by three players who all stand at least 6’0”.
Junior Allison Day (6’1” junior) has led the Eastern team in scoring this season with an average of 16.5 points per game. She is also the team’s leading rebounder with an average of 10.7 boards per contest. In addition, she also contributes four assists and 3.5 steals per game.
Day has already been named the District 14 Coaches Association Player of the Year and is a nominee for the Southern Hills Athletic Conference Player of the Year that will be announced at the SHAC Winter Sports Awards Banquet March 12.
The Lady Warriors’ 6’0” post player Mikayla Farris averages 10 points per game to go along with six rebounds per contest. She has been named to the District 14 Basketball Coaches Association Third Team and to the SHAC All-Conference Team.
Eastern’s 6’0” sophomore Alexa Pennington made her presence known on the court in her first year as a Lady Warrior since transferring from West Union High School. Pennington has averaged 10.7 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per contest, and has also dished for an average of three assists.
Day has shot 55-percent from the field this season, while Farris has shot 61-percent from the field. Pennington has shot 35-percent from beyond the arc and 52-percent from two-point range.
The Lady Warriors are also headed by a motivated coach who can always recognize room for improvements.
Even in their post-season big tourney wins over Rock Hill and Nelsonville-York, Pickerill knows his team has to continue to progress to keep advancing.
“I felt like we came out a little tight to start, and they did a good job of beating our press so we weren’t able to get any easy ones to start,” Pickerill said following the win over Rock Hill. “We made an adjustment about five minutes into the game with the type of pressure we were using, and that allowed us to get going offensively.”
Also aiding in the Lady Warriors’ success on the court this season have been guards Morgan Reynolds (sophomore), Whitney Broughton (junior), Camryn Pickerill (freshman), Haley Fannin (junior), Allison Malott (sophomore) Jensen Sowers (senior), and Destinie Rose (senior); and with the return of junior point guard Maggie Fultz after missing the majority of the season due to injury, and some help off the bench from other players such as junior Megan Cox and sophomore Andrea Edmisten, the Lady Warriors are equipped with the talent and determination it will take to capture a district, regional, or even a state title this year.