By Wade Linville –
The 2017-18 winter basketball season reached an end for the Georgetown Lady G-Men and the Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington Lady Jays at Wilmington High School on Feb. 17, as both teams suffered losses to higher seeds in round one of the Southwest District Division III Sectional Tournament. It was a 2017-18 winter season in which the young Georgetown varsity girls’ basketball squad gained valuable experience on the hardwood while adapting to the coaching style of their first-year head coach Janel Blankespoor. The senior-less Lady G-Men were able to claim seven victories during their regular season with experienced juniors Kennedy Underwood, Lauren Carter, and Kim Seigla providing leadership on the court. The Lady G-Men reached an end to their 2017-18 winter court campaign with a 64-32 loss to No. 4 seed Purcell Marian in round one of the Southwest District Division III Sectional Tournament at Wilmington High School on Saturday, Feb. 17. The Lady G-Men entered sectional tourney play as the No. 17 seed and would wrap up their season with an overall record of 7-16. Struggles started early on for the Lady G-Men in Saturday’s sectional bout, as they were on the short side of an 18-4 run in the first period of play. Underwood fired for the Lady G-Men’s only two field goals in the first quarter, while the talented crew of Purcell players cruised behind an aggressive defense and a high-tempo offense to lead by 14 at the end of the first frame. The Lady Cavaliers looked to their size advantage in the paint in the second quarter, and Purcell Marian’s Sha’Dai Hale delivered, draining four shots inside the arc and one three-pointer for 11 second-quarter points. Before halftime break, Hale had racked up 15 points and Purcell Marian’s Kya Dukes 12 points. By halftime, the Lady Cavaliers had expanded their lead to 49-13. The second half started with the OHSAA’s new “running clock” rule for tournament games in effect due to Purcell Marian’s lead being at least 35 points. The Lady G-Men were able to outscore the Cavaliers 19-15 in the second half of play while Dukes and Hale took a break on the bench. Leading the way for the Lady G-Men in scoring in Saturday’s sectional game was Underwood with 10 points, nine of her points coming in the first half. Seigla and Georgetown sophomore Emilee Thomas shot for eight points each, and freshman teammate Maddi Benjamin sank four-of-four attempts from the charity stripe to finish with four points. Leading the Lady Cavaliers in scoring in their round-one sectional win were Hale and Amil Ali-Shakir with 15 points each. Dukes finished with 12 points and also shooting for double figures for the Lady Cavaliers was Santia Cravens with 11 points. The Lady Cavaliers advanced to face No. 18 seed North College Hill in the SW District Division III Sectional Tournament semi-finals on Feb. 20. The Lady Jays, as the No. 19 seed, faced off against the No. 3 seed Madeira Lady Amazons in round one of the Southwest District Division III Sectional Tournament at Wilmington High School on Saturday, Feb. 17, and it was the Lady Jays suffering a 49-32 loss at the hands of the much more experienced Madeira varsity girls basketball squad. RULH varsity girls basketball coach Chris Coleman and his young Lady Jays, a team with no seniors, took the court with a good game plan – keep the game pace slow and be patient on offense. But scoring proved to be difficult for the Lady Jays against a sturdy Lady Amazon defense. Madeira’s Marin Kline kicked off scoring with a three-pointer to give the Lady Amazons an early lead, but it was Ripley junior Carlee Daulton driving to the hoop and draining a field goal from close range to trim the Madeira lead to 3-2. The Lady Amazons managed their second field goal of the night nearly three minutes into the game, as Mary Englert scored on a drive to up Madeira’s lead to 5-2. With field goals coming from Daulton and Ripley sophomore Kailee Fisher later in the first quarter, the Lady Jays trailed by eight, 14-6, entering the second period of play. The Lady Amazons went on to outscore the Lady Jays 13-4 in the second quarter to hold a 27-10 lead heading into halftime break. The Lady Jays put together a better second half, being outscored by only one point, 23-22, in the final two quarters. The Amazons upped their lead to 41-17 by outscoring the Lady Jays 14-7 in the third quarter, but it was the Lady Jays returning in the fourth quarter to outscore the Lady Amazons 15-9. Daulton, the Lady Jays leading scorer on the season, led the way in scoring for the Ripley varsity girls in their final game of their 2017-18 court campaign with 11 points. Ripley junior Cailey Kirk and sophomore Lady Jay Tori Lewis shot for five points apiece in Saturday’s sectional bout. Ripley junior Jennifer Eichner, coming off an injury that kept her sidelined for a good part of the season, drained two field goals to finish with four points, and also sinking two field goals to finish with four points was Ripley sophomore Danielle Bennington. Fisher ended the game with two points, and rounding out the Lady Jays’ scoring in their sectional game at Wilmington was junior Grace Mitchell with one point. Leading all scorers in the contest was Madeira’s Carly Scott with 14 points. The young Lady Jays may have taken their share of lumps on the court this season to finish with only four wins, but you can expect a brighter future for the RULH varsity girls basketball program as it loses no one to graduation before the 2018-19 school year is expected to return all key players to the court next season.