by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
PICKERINGTON — A strong start propelled Newark in ending Teays Valley’s season 59-39 Wednesday night.
The Wildcats got out in front 14-3 in the first period and led 31-14 by halftime.
While Newark, the No. 4 seed and a seven-time defending champion in the Division I Central District tournament, was converting on its offensive end, Teays Valley (No. 14) was having issues on its end of the court.
After going a perfect 13-13 at the free throw line to advance in a Friday win over Westerville North, the Vikings were 4-14 in the first half Wednesday and turned the ball over nine times in that same span.
“I think a lot of it was we were just a little too high energy for the game. We needed to relax and play within ourselves,” TV coach Trevor Younkin said. “These girls haven’t had this opportunity before. You’ve got to gain the experience to be able to get to these opportunities and then you’ve got to show up and play. Unfortunately the first half just didn’t go our way.
“You put 10 points from the free throw line that go for us and it’s a three-possession game at halftime. That would have been important.”
With two starters back from last year’s state runner-up team and a strong group of underclassmen, the Wildcats didn’t falter in the second half.
The Wildcats found Ally Carr twice in the corner and Brie Gingras once for three three-pointers in the first two minutes as they extended the lead to 40-17 and they were were up 48-26 entering the final quarter. Another three from Carr in the fourth quarter gave Newark eight for the game.
“We talked about that we can’t allow dribble drives, and we did. And when we helped, it was a kick out and it was just a wide open three. I hated to see that happen to us,” Younkin said. “I think we adjusted a little bit better at halftime, but they still found areas to take open shots between the zones.”
When Gingras wasn’t hitting threes, she was driving to the basket as she led all scorers with 24 points Wednesday. Jenna Shackleford did her damage inside scoring 13 points and she led Newark with 10 rebounds.
Sophomore Alyssa Horsley led the Vikings with 13 points and senior Ashley DeWeese had 12.
Sophomore Kennedy Younkin led the Vikings with 10 rebounds while scoring eight points. TV out-rebounded the Wildcats 36-24.
The Vikings graduate three seniors out of this year’s starting lineup in DeWeese, Jenna Horsley and Aimee Watson. DeWeese will continue her career at Ohio Christian University and Horsley is headed to Capital University.
“The seniors were a huge factor in all of this and going 17-7. I really appreciate what they’ve done for the program,” Younkin said. “Replacing them is going to be tough.
“We’re going to have opportunities for girls to step up, play this summer and get better. Hopefully we can get back to this spot and it’s a better outcome than we had tonight.”
• Newark will be at Ohio Dominican University to play for an eighth straight district title at 11 a.m. Saturday against Gahanna Lincoln.
Newark 59, Teays Valley 39
Teays Valley — Abby Tier 0-2-2, Aimee Watson 0-1-1, Jenna Horsley 1-1-3, Ashley DeWeese 3-6-12, Kennedy Younkin 4-0-8, Alyssa Horsley 6-0-13. Three-point goals — Alyssa Horsley. Total — 14-46 10-22 39.
Newark — Sophie Bidwell 1-0-2, Ally Carr 3-0-9, Brie Gingras 8-4-24, Maddie Vejsicky 3-2-9, Gwen Stare 1-0-2, Jenna Shackleford 5-3-13. Three-point goals — Carr (3), Gingras (4), Vejsicky. Total — 21-41 9-14 59.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Teays Valley 3 11 12 13 39
Newark 14 17 17 11 59