By Brad Morris
ASHVILLE — When all else fails, a little hustle can go a long way.
Just ask the Teays Valley girls basketball team.
Turnovers and missed free throws allowed a 14-point lead to dwindle on Friday to a one-possession game with two minutes remaining.
The Vikings then missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Kennedy Younkin grabbed the offensive rebound and fed a driving Alyssa Horsley for a layup off the left block to put the Vikings ahead 37-32.
Teays Valley then made a pair of key defensive stops and hit just enough free throws from there to close out a 41-35 Mid-State League Buckeye Division win over visiting Amanda-Clearcreek.
“We talk about making hustle plays and giving a little extra, whether it is getting a finger on the basketball to deflect a pass, tip a ball to a teammate or position yourself to come down with a big rebound like Kennedy did right there,” Teays Valley coach Trevor Younkin said. “That was a big play in the game with Alyssa making a layup there to give us just enough room to close out a pretty tough and determined Amanda-Clearcreek team.”
The Aces (2-1, 1-1) entered the fourth quarter having made just 6 of their first 36 shots (16.7 percent) but found their range in the closing eight minutes.
“Our defense was just exceptional over the first three quarters,” Younkin said. “We scouted Amanda-Clearcreek earlier this week and watched them put up 63 points against a solid Liberty Union team. They have multiple scorers on the floor that makes them a tough team to defend.
“We plugged the middle up with Kennedy, who’s 6-2, and that deterred Amanda-Clearcreek from driving to the basket for layups and took away part of their game.”
Emily Buckley opened the fourth with a three-pointer from the top of the key and Taylor Evans came away with a steal three possessions later and laid it in for two more, narrowing the Teays Valley lead to 32-25.
Buckley added two free throws and a layup and a free throw and layup off a steal courtesy of Grace Davis closed a 14-3 run by the Aces that trimmed the Vikings’ lead to 35-32 with 2:28 remaining.
The Vikings (2-0, 2-0) committed four of their six fourth-quarter turnovers during the run.
“We wanted to come out, hit shots and then set our defensive pressure off those made shots, but we really struggled from the field in the first three quarters,” Amanda-Clearcreek coach Tim Leist said. “Our girls always play hard, they stayed with things, and we were finally able to string together some baskets in the fourth quarter to where we could set our pressure and have some success with it.
“Ultimately, we just got behind by too many points and Teays Valley, to its credit, was able to do enough down the stretch to maintain its lead.”
Following the key Horsley layup that put the Vikings ahead 37-32, a free throw each from Gabrielle Watkins and Abby Tier and two more courtesy of Younkin closed out the win.
The Vikings finished the first half on an 8-0 run to take a 21-11 lead into halftime, holding the Aces scoreless for the final 5:40 of the second quarter.
Horsley led the charge with a three-pointer and putback.
The Viking stretched their advantage to 32-18 going into the fourth quarter, thanks in part to a three-pointer from Addie Helwagen and a steal off a tipped pass and layup by Tier to help close out the period.
“That was another hustle play where Abby saw the pass, tipped it and then finished on the other end,” Younkin said. “That was a big play to extend our lead to 14, which we obviously needed in the fourth quarter.”
The Vikings finished the game with 19 turnovers, 11 of which were made in the second half, and the Aces had 14 turnovers.
Teays Valley shot just 5 of 12 (41.7 percent) from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter, including missing a pair of one-and-one opportunities.
“Free throw shooting is something we talk about a lot and work on a lot, so it’s disheartening to shoot like we did in the fourth quarter,” Younkin said. “We also made way too many turnovers, but part of that is going back to our youth and inexperience at the varsity level. We believe in our girls, so we are going to have to help them work through this.”
The Vikings held a 34-22 advantage on the glass.
Horsley paced the Vikings with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds to go with four assists, Younkin tallied 10 points and seven rebounds and Tier added seven points.
“Alyssa did a little bit of everything for us and was pretty steady,” Younkin said.
Buckley led all scorers with 14 points for the Aces, and Davis and Evans dropped in eight apiece. Evans also grabbed eight rebounds.
Amanda-Clearcreek travels to Fisher Catholic on Tuesday for a non-league game, while Teays Valley is off until Friday when it continues league competition at Bloom-Carroll.
Teays Valley 41,
AMANDA-CLEARCREEK — Emily Buckley 4-4-14, Grace Davis 2-4-8, Rachel Weaver 0-1-1, Haley Sowers 1-1-4, Taylor Evans 3-0-8. Three-point goals — Emily Buckley (2), Taylor Evans (2) and Haley Sowers. Total — 10-45 10-16 35.
TEAYS VALLEY — Addie Helwagen 1-0-3, Abby Tier 1-5-7, Sydney Manring 0-1-1, Kara Cline 2-1-5, Kennedy Younkin 4-2-10, Alyssa Horsley 4-3-12, Gabrielle Watkins 1-1-3. Three-point goals — Addie Helwagen, Alyssa Horsley. Total — 13-34 13-22 41.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Am.-Clearcreek 5 6 9 15 35
Teays Valley 11 10 11 9 41