Girls basketball: Old conference rivals to meet in D-2 sectional final

An old conference rivalry will be renewed in the Division II girls basketball sectional finals for the second straight season next week.

Third-seeded Kenton Ridge (21-3) will face off against fourth-seeded Tippecanoe (18-5) in a D-II sectional final game at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Springfield High School. The winner will advance to a D-II district final game on Friday, March 1 at Mason High School.

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The Cougars and Red Devils battled for years in the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division before Tippecanoe left for the Greater Western Ohio Conference two years ago. Between 2008 and 2016, Tippecanoe won five division titles, while Kenton Ridge won three. Tipp is currently in its final season in the Greater Western Ohio Conference. The Red Devils begin play in the Miami Valley League in the fall.

Each team earned postseason victories on Tuesday night in Springfield — Tippecanoe beat Trotwood-Madison 55-47, while Kenton Ridge beat Shawnee 56-26 — to advance to the sectional final for the second straight season.

“Now I can think about (Kenton Ridge),” said Tipp coach Andy Holderman. “It’s another homegrown game, back to the old days. The girls will enjoy this win and we’ll get on the videos and figure out a game plan for Monday.”

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Last year, the Red Devils advanced to the D-II districts with a 48-43 victory, eventually falling to Bellbrook in the regional finals.

“They’re a completely different team,” said Cougars coach Matt McCurdy. “They looked really good tonight so we have to hit the film and come up with the best game plan we can. They’re a competitive group.”

Kenton Ridge 56, Shawnee 26: Kirsten Wiley scored 15 of her game-high 17 points in the first half as the Cougars won their 15th straight game.

The Braves played a zone defense for the first time all season, focusing their attention on Cougars post player Mikala Morris, forcing her teammates to hit open jumpers from the outside.

Morris scored 40 and 43 points in their two regular season contests against Shawnee. Early in the game, Morris became the all-time leading scorer at Kenton Ridge, passing her former teammate Jamari McDavid.

The Braves held Morris to 15 points, but her teammates Wiley, Mallory Armentrout (10 points) and Joshlynn Johnson (10 points) picked up the slack.

“Our absolute goal was to try to make the others beat us, see if they could make outside shots,” said Braves coach Kari Cooper. “If (Morris) did get the ball, we wanted everything to be challenged. I think we did execute that game plan, but they had kids step up and make shots.”

The Cougars hit four 3-pointers in the first half to take a 36-17 lead into the locker room.

“Who can blame them for doing what they did defensively,” McCurdy said. “Mikala has been playing great as of late, putting up some big numbers throughout the season. Make the other girls beat you and we were fortunate enough to get it going.”

Hannah Spitzer had eight points for Shawnee, which finished its season 7-17. The Braves entered the season with two players with varsity experience.

“I think our record doesn’t reflect it, but our goal was to improve our score against teams when we played them a second time through our conference, which is super tough,” Cooper said. “I think that we did that. We showed growth and that was pretty positive for us.”

Tippecanoe 55, Trotwood-Madison 47: The Red Devils jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, snapping the Rams' 16-game winning streak.

Tippecanoe has won seven straight since falling to the Rams on Jan. 24. Senior Brooke Aselage had 14 points and sophomore Rachel Wildermuth added 10 for the Red Devils.

“It was a nice win for us,” Holderman said. “We had a lot of confidence coming in. A lot of people were doing a lot of nice things for us and we were starting to gel a little bit. We’re actually playing our best basketball right now, which is a good thing.”

Trotwood’s Korryn Millerton opened the game with five straight points to give the Rams a 5-2 lead, but was quickly called for her second foul.

From that point forward, the Red Devils went on a 17-3 run to take a 19-8 lead after one quarter.

Tippecanoe led by as many as 15 in the second quarter, but the Rams cut the lead to eight at 29-21 on a putback by Goddess McIntyre, forcing a Red Devils timeout.

Tippecanoe’s Katie Salyer capped a 7-2 run to end the half, giving the Red Devils a 36-23 lead at the break.

The Rams came alive in the third quarter, using a full court press to speed up the game. A layup by Trotwood’s Quantaijah Huffman cut the lead to four at 42-38 entering the fourth quarter.

Tipp went 7-for-18 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, opening the door for a Trotwood comeback. The Rams pulled to within three at 46-43, but couldn’t get any closer.

Sha’Mya Leigh had 12 points for the Rams, while Quantaijah Huffman had 11 and Heaven Gooden added 10. Trotwood finished its season 19-3.

“I just thought we did not execute our game plan, we did not do the things we did in practice and we allowed Tipp to get some open shots,” said Trotwood coach Henry Benton. “I know I need to be politically correct right now, but I just thought we blew too many opportunities. I don’t really think they stopped us. We had a lot of great looks, we just didn’t finish shots around the basket. … I’m not putting Tipp down at all, I just felt like we didn’t do what we were supposed to do today.”

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