By Brad Morris
While Logan Elm has perhaps the youngest team in the Division II Southeast District tournament, starting four freshmen and a sophomore, the Braves showed a few glimpses on Thursday of the potential they hope to unlock in coming seasons.
Tasked with traveling to open the tournament against Muskingum Valley League Big School Division champion and defending state runner-up Sheridan, the Braves put together a pair of strong quarters before falling 50-32 in a sectional final.
Kennedy Groff knocked down a three-pointer and Enaja Fischer also scored three points in a first quarter that ended with Sheridan holding a slim 10-8 lead.
“We came out really strong and worked the ball around as well as our defense pressure and help was awesome in that first quarter once we got the nerves under control,” Logan Elm coach Jennifer Blue said. “Kiki Ingram had a drive at the end of the quarter but the bucket just fell short that would have tied us up at the end of the first. I was proud of the girls they came out and executed everything we wanted to do there.”
The Braves were held to just a basket by Kimmy Petty and a free throw courtesy of Ingram in the second quarter, as the Generals went ahead 25-11 at halftime.
Jamisyn Stinson scored seven of her game-high 20 points in the period for the Generals (21-2).
“The second quarter was the complete opposite for us,” Blue said. “Sheridan came out in a fire situation and we turned the ball over four straight possessions and the game got away from us a little bit.
“We never really settled into our offense in that quarter and played timid throughout.”
Logan Elm (4-19) put together its best basketball of the night in the third quarter, outscoring Sheridan 14-12.
“I told the girls at half though we were still right there,” Blue said. “We needed to have a strong third and just put ourselves close enough to be there at the end.”
Ingram scored three baskets and Hannah Rhoads also contributed six points with a pair of three-pointers, cutting Sheridan’s lead to 37-25.
The Generals finished pulling away in the fourth to advance onto a district semifinal, despite a triple off the shooting hand of Petty and the second basket of the second half from Claire King.
“The girls battled all the way to the end, and I was proud of them for their effort tonight against a very good Sheridan team,” Blue said.
Ingram led the Braves with 10 points, Rhoads tallied seven and Petty had five.
Logan Elm loses one senior to graduation in Maddie Merritt.
“Maddie our senior was amazing this year, she hadn’t played since her freshman season and came everyday and gave us 110 percent,” Blue said. “Her game and quickness improved so much over the season, and she was always smiling. She took the girls in as being a senior and was a solid addition to the locker room.”
The Braves showed earlier glimpses of what could await in the future, including defeating district semifinalist and the 15-win Athens Bulldogs 39-33 early last month.
Blue told her young group following the game that the coming offseason will need to serve as a springboard into the 2023-24 campaign, including getting into the weight room.
“As we told the girls after the game, they have the ability to do special things for this program, it’s just going to come down to this offseason and how much do they want to put into it,” she said. “At the beginning of the season we had running clocks and games weren’t even close. The girls grew so much even though it didn’t show in the win column our games were all competitive.
“We have to learn how to get rid of that one bad quarter we have ever night, that’s something else we said we need to work on this summer.”
Division II Southeast District
No. 3 Sheridan 50,
No. 14 Logan Elm 32
LOGAN ELM — Kimmy Petty 2-0-5, Hannah Rhoads 2-1-7, Enaja Fischer 1-1-3, Kiki Ingram 4-2-10, Claire King 2-0-4, Kennedy Groff 1-0-3. Three-point goals — Rhoads (2), Petty and Groff. Total — 12 4-11 32
SHERIDAN — Jamisyn Stinson 8-2-20, Ava Heller 3-3-10, Addi Shaeffer 1-2-4, Mylie Forgrave 0-1-1, Payton Powell 2-2-6, Kaelyn Moss 1-0-2, Nora Saffel 1-5-7. Three-point goals — Stinson (2) and Heller. Total — 16 15-24 50.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Logan Elm 8 3 14 7 32
Sheridan 10 15 12 13 50