Crown them: Vikings defeat Lions to earn MSL-Buckeye title

By Brad Morris

ASHVILLE — Kennedy Younkin and her Teays Valley teammates took a lesson they learned as children and applied it to a Mid-State League Buckeye Division game on Friday against visiting Liberty Union.

If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try, again.

The Vikings used a 20-5 rebounding advantage, including 13 offensive, to overcome a tough shooting performance and defeat the Lions 40-29 to claim their first league championship since 2019 and 21st in program history.

“We didn’t have our best shooting night (14 of 44 for 31.8 percent), but sometimes that happens when you have two good teams playing each other,” Younkin said. “We knew what we were playing for, and we were going to do anything we had to in order to win the league.

“We were going to dive on the floor after a loose basketball, we were going to fight for rebounds and getting all of those second chances there in the second half gave us a lot of extra possessions. We were able to take advantage of some of those to score, but even if we didn’t score, it kept the basketball on our end of the floor and limited what Liberty Union could do offensively.”

The win gave the Vikings (15-7, 11-3) at least a share of the league championship. Teays Valley entered the evening tied for second with Bloom-Carroll (13-8, 10-4), which was upset 46-43 by Fairfield Union to give the Vikings the honor outright.

The Teays Valley Vikings react to Fairfield Union upsetting Bloom-Carroll 46-43 on Friday and winning the outright Mid-State League Buckeye Division championship.

“It’s kinda ironic, because we all went over to Fairfield Union last year hoping that Bloom-Carroll would beat them and we could share the league championship,” Teays Valley junior guard Alyssa Horsley said. “Obviously, that didn’t happen and we were all disappointed, but it went back to us not controlling our own destiny.

“Kennedy and I talked after that game, and we agreed this season was going to be different and that we would put ourselves in a position to control our own destiny. We weren’t going to be denied tonight.”

Horsley led the way for the Vikings with 13 points and also pulled down seven rebounds. Younkin contributed eight points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and three steals, and Gabrielle Watkins, Abby Tier and Kayla Cline scored six points apiece. Tier also accounted for four assists and Cline had seven rebounds.

Teays Valley’s Alyssa Horsley scored 13 points in a 40-29 win over Liberty Union.

The Vikings scored the final five points of the third quarter to grab a 27-19 lead.

Abby Tier took an inbounds pass and scored on a layup off the left block and later Horsley grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled. The junior guard then drained both free throws. Addi Helwagen capped the quarter by splitting a pair of free throws.

Younkin opened the fourth quarter with a put-back to give the Vikings their first double-digit lead of the night and then later made a pair of free throws to make it 31-21 with 5:31 remaining.

“We made a little run at the end of the third quarter and that gave us some energy and momentum going into the fourth that we were able to build off of,” Younkin said. “I think it went back to our rebounding. When you keep rebounding the basketball and getting extra possessions, that gets tiring for the other team.”

The Vikings forced Liberty Union (12-9, 6-8) to extend its defense and was able to find openings to score.

Horsley split a pair of free throws and then canned a 15-foot jumper to extend the lead to 34-21.

Watkins scored on a pair of layups and then fed Younkin for a layup to cap the night and start the celebration of a league championship.

Teays Valley junior Kennedy Younkin cuts down her string of the league championship net.

“We did a nice job of being patient, working our offense and getting good looks around the basket that we were able to knock down,” Horsley said.

The Vikings held Bowling Green signee and Liberty Union senior guard Abbie Riddle to six points over the first three quarters and 13 overall on the night. Riddle entered the contest averaging 19.2 points.

“We wanted to mix our defense to give Liberty Union some different looks, so we came out in a triangle-and-two and also used some of our man,” Teays Valley coach Trevor Younkin said. “Abbie is so good at getting to the basket to score and creating offense for Liberty Union, so we wanted to take that part of her game away.

“Liberty Union has only lost two games since we beat them back in December and they have been averaging 55 points per game since then, so to come out here and hold them to 29 points was an exceptional job. Our girls played outstanding team defense.”

Younkin, a 1996 graduate of Teays Valley, was emotional after the game as he watched his players climb a ladder on the west end of the gymnasium to cut down the net and savor a league championship.

“It starts with our players and the way they have bought into our program and put in the work to be successful,” he said. “I feel blessed and honored to lead this program, because I know how much Teays Valley girls basketball means to the community and the tradition that this program has.

“Our girls are now part of that tradition, because this is now a championship basketball team and 2023 will be hanging on the banner next to all of those other championship years.”

Teays Valley coach Trevor Younkin cuts down the net.

The Vikings are off until Feb. 15 when they open tournament play by hosting Hilliard Bradley.

Teays Valley 40,
Liberty Union 29

LIBERTY UNION — Brooklyn Angelo 1-0-3, Morgan Love 1-0-3, Abbie Riddle 6-0-13, Ella Brown 1-0-2, Delaney Peck 2-4-8. Three-point goals — Angelo, Love and Riddle. Total — 11-35 4-5 29.
TEAYS VALLEY— Addi Helwagen 0-1-1, Abby Tier 2-1-6, Kayla Cline 2-0-6, Kennedy Younkin 3-2-8, Alyssa Horsley 4-3-13, Gabrielle Watkins 3-0-6. Three-point goals — Cline (2), Horsley (2) and Tier. Total — 14-44 7-10 40.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Liberty Union 6 8 5 10 29
Teays Valley 14 4 9 13 40

Pickaway County Family YMCA
(740) 477-1661
The Vikings have some fun after the game.
The 2022-23 Mid-State League Buckeye Division champion Teays Valley Vikings

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: