Girls basketball: Greenon off to strong start

ENON — After a second-place finish last season, the Greenon High School girls basketball team are on a mission to reclaim the Ohio Heritage Conference South Division championship.

“They look at the banners on the wall and they want to get their number up there,” said Knights coach Nick Minnich. “Being a part of that is something special. It’s definitely something they’ve been talking about since last summer.”

They’re off to a great start this season. The Knights are 7-1 and 5-0 in the OHC South, including key division victories over Southeastern, Cedarville and Catholic Central. They’ve won four straight since dropping their first game to Waynesville on Dec. 5. They host Triad at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

“We’re excited as a team,” Minnich said. “The girls have one goal this year and that’s to win the OHC. I keep telling them that if we continue to trust the process, we’ll get there. We aren’t looking too many games ahead. We’re just taking it step-by-step and game-by-game. They’ve been focusing on one game at a time.”

The Knights have a new coach in Minnich, who took over the program earlier this year after Lonnie Robinson resigned after four seasons as head coach. Minnich led the girls basketball program at Yellow Springs for the past two seasons.

“We played against them last year and I knew they were a special group of kids,” Minnich said.

The Knights last OHC South title came when the current senior class were freshmen. Last season, they lost a heartbreaker to Catholic Central in late January, finishing runner-up by one game. The Knights finished 21-3 and advanced to a D-III district final for the first time since 1984, falling to eventual state champion Purcell Marian.

Greenon returns last season’s OHC leading scorers in senior forward Abby West (15.8 points, 6.0 rebounds per game) and senior guard Claire Henry (15.7 points, 4.3 assists and 5.3 steals per game), the South Division Player of the Year.

West is leading the OHC in rebounding (10.8 per game) and blocks (4.1) this season, while Henry is leading the conference in assists (5.1). Both rank among the top-10 in scoring with West at 14.4 ppg and Henry at 11.9 ppg. Sophomore Sarah Riley is averaging 10.6 ppg.

“(The seniors) are taking on more of a leadership role and understanding it’s not just about stats, it’s about wins,” Minnich said. “That’s what we talk about. It’s a team game and if everyone does their job, we’ll get the win. They couldn’t care less about stats. They’re worried about getting wins.”

Greenon moved to D-II this season and beefed up its schedule this winter to prepare for the postseason, including games against Oakwood and Tecumseh.

The Knights fell at Waynesville — which lost to Purcell Marian last year in a D-III regional semifinal — in a tight game.

“We competed back-and-forth,” Minnich said. “At the end of the game, we had a couple chances, we just couldn’t make the shots. We walked out of there with our heads up because that’s a solid team that’s going to win a lot of games this year.”

The Knights, however, aren’t looking ahead. In order to take back the OHC title, they’ll have to be ready each and every night.

“We just worry about what we can control,” Minnich said. “We’ll take it one step at a time.”

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