Girls basketball: Experienced Tecumseh built for defense

Cutline: Tecumseh High School junior Mae Mastin looks for a teammate during their game against Centerville on Jan. 28, 2019. The Arrows are 5-1 and 3-0 in the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division this winter. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS BY MICHAEL COOPER
Cutline: Tecumseh High School junior Mae Mastin looks for a teammate during their game against Centerville on Jan. 28, 2019. The Arrows are 5-1 and 3-0 in the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division this winter. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS BY MICHAEL COOPER

NEW CARLISLE — The Tecumseh High School girls basketball team is averaging 73.8 points per game, tops in the Central Buckeye Conference this season.

While they have experienced scorers all over the floor, it’s their defense that feeds their up-tempo offense. With no player standing taller than 5-foot-10, the Arrows use their quickness to get easy buckets in its full-court press.

“That’s what these girls were built for,” said Arrows coach Chasity Russell. “You have to play to your strengths. We’re fast, but we don’t have a lot of size. We’re fast, we can handle the ball and get up and down the floor.”

With all five starters back from last year’s team, the Arrows are 5-1 this season and 3-0 in the CBC Kenton Trail. They have three players averaging double-digits this season, including senior Terah Harness (17.3 points per game), Mae Mastin (14.7 ppg) and Makenzie Chinn (13.8 ppg). Sophomore Gabrielle Russell is averaging 8.7 ppg and 10.2 rebounds per game.

“I think what’s been going so well is that we’ve been really playing together well,” Russell said.

The Arrows’ experience has shown early this season despite missing out on their typical offseason due to COVID-19.

“We tried to do a lot of stuff together, even though we weren’t able to do the traditional shootouts or summer leagues,” Russell said. “We were lifting, having open gym and doing a lot of team stuff. I think that was helpful.”

Harness, who recently signed with Division I South Carolina Upstate, is leading the conference in both scoring and blocks (2.0 pg).

“She’s shooting the ball well, she’s rebounding well,” Russell said. “She’s really stepped up with her leadership this year. With her getting that D-I scholarship, she’s got to get better in those areas and she’s really working on that.”

Defensively, the Arrows are led by Chinn and Mastin. Chinn ranks first in the conference in steals at 5.7 per game, while Mastin is averaging 4.5 per game.

“They just annoy the crap out of the other teams,” Russell said.

The Arrows are hoping to get in as many non-conference games as possible this season to help with tournament seeding. They have games scheduled against both Centerville and Wayne. They also recently played Miamisburg after their game against Beavercreek was cancelled due to COVID-19 issues.

They’re also hoping to make a run at their first Division I district finals since 2016.

“It’s tough, but that’s our goal,” Russell said.

Tecumseh won four straight CBC Kenton Trail Division titles from 2016 through 2019, but finished one game back of Jonathan Alder last season. Both of the Arrows’ league losses came by five points or less. They want nothing more than to reclaim the championship, Russell said.

“That’s our team goal,” Russell said. “We just have to keep playing together. We have a lot of players that are able to score a lot of points, but I think the thing that is different for us is that teamwork.”

OHC North showdown: West Liberty-Salem won the first round against rival and defending Ohio Heritage Conference North Division champion Mechanicsburg last week, beating the Indians 63-45 on Dec. 12. Tigers senior Selena Weaver scored a career-high 31 points in the win, while Mechanicsburg senior Grace Forrest scored a career-high 33 points.

The Tigers are 6-0, while the Indians are 5-1. The rematch is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 4.

Mechanicsburg faces another test in the OHC with a crossover game at Cedarville on Saturday, Dec. 19.

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