When Aianna Wilson transferred from London to Kenton Ridge this season it wasn’t to be a post player. But when you play on a small team and you are facing a 6-foot-2 Division I signee in the sectional semifinals, it’s time to fill a role the team needs.
Wilson, a 5-foot-6 sophomore guard, spent most of the game guarding Greenville’s Megan Galloway, but she didn’t mind.
“I wasn’t nervous because when I first started playing I was a post player so I’m used to being aggressive,” Wilson said. “What really helped was having help behind me.”
Galloway scored 20 points, but she was shut down in the fourth quarter by double-teams and the Cougars broke open a close game for a 61-44 victory in the Division II sectional semifinals Wednesday at Tecumseh High School.
Galloway scored eight straight points for Greenville (12-11) in the third quarter, and her two free throws with 2:47 left cut Kenton Ridge’s lead to 37-34. Galloway scored only two more points and the second-seeded Cougars (20-4) outscored the No. 10 Green Wave 24-10 the rest of the way.
“Aianna played great defense on the big girl,” Cougars coach Ed Foulk said. “She was one of the main factors for us at the end.”
Kenton Ridge will play for the sectional title and a return to the district tournament at 12:30 p.m. Saturday against No. 3 Eaton at Tecumseh. Eaton defeated No. 5 Tippecanoe 49-47 in Wednesday’s second game.
As usual, the Cougars had balanced scoring among their top seven players. Sophomore guard Baylee Bennett scored 18 points, junior point guard Stefanie Davis scored 14 on 10-of-12 free-throw shooting and freshman Sydney Bates scored 10. Wilson added eight. Paige McCrary, a 17-point-a-game senior, scored only six, but that’s OK on a team that rarely has the same leading scorer two games in a row.
But without the defense on Galloway, who will play her college ball at Detroit, the Cougars might not have been able to open a big lead.
“Defense, basically the last three quarters, and stopping Galloway from scoring made the difference,” Foulk said. “She got frustrated when we started putting pressure on her. She had 20 but she could’ve had 40.”
Part of Wilson’s motivation to do what is asked of her comes from playing on a 20-win team.
“I have won more games here than I have ever since I started playing,” Wilson said. “It feels good to win and to have teammates who have my back.”