by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
PICKERINGTON — Bouncing back from a couple of slow quarters and facing a tie score, Teays Valley got its groove back in the fourth quarter on the way to defeating Bishop Hartley 51-40 in the opening game of this weekend’s Classic In The City showcase.
“We got taken back to our Amanda game where we were down 18 points and we came back. We’re fighters and we knew we had to handle business,” said TV junior Alyssa Horsley, who was named the game’s MVP with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Teays Valley (13-3) had led by as many as 14 points in the first quarter but the Hawks turned up the pressure in the middle periods and the game was tied 30-30 entering the fourth.
“They played a 2-3 extended zone and pushed us up,” Horsley said of the middle quarters. “We like to play an inside-out game and when they pushed us up it was harder for us to make passes and get shots on the perimeter. When we started getting it in and then we kicked out for open shots we found our groove.”
Hartley’s Aniyah Thorne had the first score of the fourth but Teays Valley came back with a basket from Gabrielle Watkins, one from Horsley and a free throw from Kennedy Younkin to go up 35-32.
Bishop Hartley (6-10) added a free throw at the five-minute mark and Horsley answered 30 seconds later with a three-pointer to make it 38-33.
That ended up being the last field goal the Vikings made as they spent the last four minutes of the game connecting on 13 of 14 free throws to close out the game.
In seeing their 20-10 first quarter lead get whittled away, the Vikings committed 14 turnovers in the middle quarters. They had no turnovers in the fourth.
“The team made up a few goals during Christmas. One of them said we want to take care of the ball.,” coach Trevor Younkin said. “I asked them, I said are we living up to what you as the team decided we wanted to do by taking care of the ball? That got them a little fired up.
“That’s their goal, that’s their opportunity to take care of business and I think they stepped up to that challenge.”
Hartley’s defensive pressure in the middle quarters gave the Vikings a number of problems as Teays Valley managed only 12 shots from the field in those two periods.
“Their defensive pressure is something we don’t see a whole lot. Their scrappiness got into us a little bit,” coach Younkin said. “We had to handle that. The first quarter I think we ran them and got them out of their game. Then we slowed down a little bit and they benefited from that. In the fourth quarter, I looked them in the eyes and said we’ve got to be determined to handle the ball and attack them, not be so passive.”
“When we played Bishop Watterson last week, we faced a lot of pressure and we have to learn to settle down,” Horsley said. “We get sped up a lot, but once we start to settle and handle adversity then we come together as a team. We can’t let them dictate our play.”
Younkin said a game like Saturday’s is something his team needs to see as the Division I post-season tournament looms on the horizon.
“When you get to play in the Classic In the City, you’re going to see talented players. Kiki (McElrath) is just a talented player,” he said. “You’ve got to ask our guards to not only run around and play good defense, but then run around and handle the ball when they’re pressuring you. That’s a daunting task to be able to do that. That right there is the tournament for us. We’ve got to see that.”
Along with Horsley’s 19, Abby Tier put in 11 points for the Vikings. Kennedy Younkin set an event record as she pulled down 20 rebounds Saturday morning to go with seven points.
Overall, the Vikings had a 41-23 rebounding edge.
McElrath led the Hawks with 17 points.
The Vikings have a few days off until they host Fairfield Union Thursday.
Teays Valley 51, Bishop Hartley 40
Bishop Hartley — Caumari Terry 1-0-2, Kiki McElrath 6-3-17, Morgan Donnelly 1-0-2, Anaya Bumpus 1-1-4, Sara Thompson 1-0-3, Xaria Williams 2-0-6, Aniyah Thorne 1-4-6. Three-point goals — McElrath (2), Bumpus, Thompson, Williams (2). Total — 13-51 13-44 40.
Teays Valley — Abby Tier 1-9-11, Kayla Cline 1-2-5, Kennedy Younkin 1-5-7, Alyssa Horsley 7-3-19, Gabrielle Watkins 3-2-9. Three-point goals — Cline, Horsley (2), Watkins. Total — 13-36 21-29 51.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Bishop Hartley 10 11 9 10 40
Teays Valley 20 4 6 21 51