By Brad Morris
It’s easy to have fun when you can’t miss.
And that summed up the first three minutes of a Mid-State League Buckeye Division game on Tuesday with Teays Valley hitting its first six shots from the field to seize an early lead and coast past host Logan Elm for a 63-41 win.
“I told the girls before the game that a few of them were probably nervous since it was our season-opener, but to just go out there and have fun,” Teays Valley coach Trevor Younkin said. “That’s a pregame message that the girls listened to.”
Teays Valley leaned on its two returning junior starters — 6-2 post Kennedy Younkin and 5-8 wing Alyssa Horsley — to open the season on a winning note. Younkin led all scorers with 22 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked four shots in three quarters of basketball. Horsley followed with 19 points, six assists and four rebounds.
“It’s no secret that we are going to ask Kennedy and Alyssa to step up and deliver big time for us this season and they both did that tonight,” Younkin said. “We want to use Kennedy’s athleticism and ability to run the floor, especially against some of the posts in our league who might not be as athletic. Kennedy did a nice job of attacking the basket, passing at times when the defense collapsed on her and also stepped out and drained a jumper from about 10-feet away from the basket.
“Alyssa is the type of player who can do a little bit of everything and that was the case tonight. She helped handle the basketball, played well on the wing, posted up a little bit, rebounded and was a universal player. She’s just a solid player and when she gets into a rhythm, watch out.”
A layup from Younkin and a three-pointer from the right wing off the shooting hand of Horsley quickly staked the Vikings to a 5-0 lead. Gabrielle Watkins then contributed the next three baskets, showing her ability to drive to the basket, knocking down a 15-foot jumper and a three-pointer from the left corner. Horsley closed the 14-0 run with a layup.
“We did a nice job of playing inside-out,” Younkin observed. “We swung the ball around, worked for good shots and knocked them down. I was totally happy with how we started the game and played that first quarter.”
Teays Valley took a 19-5 lead into the second quarter, but a young Logan Elm team showed good poise and continued to compete by opening the period on an 8-2 run that featured back-to-back threes from Kimberly Petty and Kiannah Ingram that Ingram closed by nailing a jumper.
“We started four freshmen and a sophomore, so I think you saw some nerves there in the first quarter, not knowing what to expect and having to adjust to the speed of the varsity level,” Logan Elm coach Jennifer Blue said. “Teays Valley did a nice job of moving around the basketball and hitting shots with its experience.
“Once we hit a couple of shots there to start the second, the girls started to calm down, settled into a groove and really competed hard.”
Younkin paced the Vikings in the second quarter by hitting five of six shots for 10 points and Abby Tier contributed five points to send Teays Valley into halftime with a 40-20 advantage.
The Vikings shot 27 of 47 (57.4 percent) from the field, compared to the Braves hitting on 15 of 49 (30.6 percent) attempts. Both teams committed 14 turnovers apiece.
“We had some issues with turnovers during our scrimmages and we had a few too many again tonight,” Younkin said. “We’re either trying to go a little too fast or we wait a second too long when we see something and then it’s too late. We are working to find a happy balance with that.
“A couple of other things we need to work on is handling the basketball stronger on the wing to either rip by a defender to the basket or be able to shoot. Logan Elm really played hard on defense and caused us a few too many issues for my liking to be honest about it. We also need to work on ball pressure defensively, because Logan Elm was able to ball screen too easily.”
Kayla Cline chipped in eight points for the Vikings and Watkins had seven.
Petty paced the Braves with 17 points and dished out five assists and Ingram tallied 12 points.
“Kimmy showed everyone tonight that she can hit the three, she loves to attack and she’s also our defensive stopper,” Blue said. “I can’t say enough about Kimmy, our other freshmen and everyone that played tonight.
“I was pleased with the energy we played with, getting scrappy to go after loose balls, contest as many rebounds as we can and hustle. We’re really undersized right now with (5-11 freshman) Claire King out, so we really have to be scrappy.”
The Vikings (1-0, 1-0) continue league play on Black Friday when they host Amanda-Clearcreek (2-0, 1-0). The Braves (0-1, 0-1) are off until Monday when they travel to Hamilton Township (0-1, 0-1) for a league tilt.
Teays Valley 63,
Logan Elm 41
TEAYS VALLEY — Abby Tier 2-1-5, Sydney Manring 1-0-2, Kayla Cline 3-0-8, Kennedy Younkin 11-0-22, Alyssa Horsley 7-0-19, Gabrielle Watkins 3-0-7. Three-point goals — Alyssa Horsley (5), Kayla Cline (2), Gabrielle Watkins. Total — 27-47 1-3 63.
LOGAN ELM — Kimberly Petty 6-1-17, Hannah Rhoads 2-0-5, Enaja Fischer 0-1-1, Kennedy Groff 2-0-4, Kiannah Ingram 4-2-12, Maddie Merritt 1-0-2. Three-point goals — Kimberly Petty (4), Kiannah Ingram (2), Hannah Rhoads. Total — 15-49 4-6 41.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Teays Valley 19 21 14 9 63
Logan Elm 5 15 6 15 41