A Tale of Two Games: Pendleton County Splits Final Two Games Against Rivals
By Stephen Smoot
After a grueling end-of-season schedule that saw the Lady Wildcats playing six games in 10 days, Pendleton County hosted a strong AA Petersburg squad on senior night. The Wildcats had also mounted a furious comeback against talented Tucker County that fell only slightly short. Petersburg came to Franklin to find a worn down home team.
Also, Petersburg well remembered the punishment handed out by Pendleton County on their home court and came in looking for revenge.
The Wildcats started well with Ana Young hitting a 15-foot shot to open scoring 20 seconds into the action. Petersburg answered quickly with a long two-point shot of their own. Young countered with a three-pointer at the 7:10 mark. A minute later, she connected with Gabby DePue who scored a layup on the play.
First quarter scoring for both teams took the form of punch and counter punch. Petersburg surged ahead late in the quarter, but the Wildcats tied it up at 10. Young and DePue executed a pick and roll that put DePue on the line. She made one of two to knot the game. Petersburg quickly retook the lead, but a Young three-pointer brought her team within 20-18 to close the quarter.
Second quarter action commenced with Young and Jameigh Miller executing a pick and roll play, leading to a Miller layup. Until the middle of the second quarter, the Vikings would edge ahead and Pendleton County found a way to tie.
The key for Petersburg on this night lay in disciplined offense and hanging onto the ball. Normally, Pendleton County feasts on opponents’ mistakes that lead to scoring possessions. Crisp and accurate passing by the Vikings kept the explosive offense of the Wildcats more at bay as the game continued.
In the last five minutes of the second quarter, the Vikings outscored the Wildcats 12 -3. Against Tucker County, the Wildcats came roaring out of the locker room and closed the gap. The Vikings opened the half with a three-point shot to keep Pendleton County at arms length. Avery Townsend, however, worked to keep her team close. She hit a 15-foot shot with almost a minute gone. She then drove the ball to the basket, drew a foul, and hit one of two free throws to set the lead at 43-29. A minute later, she took a steal in for a basket.
Baylee Beachler worked hard to disrupt Petersburg and get possessions, tying up a player under the basket and snagging offensive rebounds. The third quarter closed with Jenna Smith getting a steal, then later finding Miller for an assist. Miller then blocked a Viking shot with a minute left to play.
The fourth quarter started with Pendleton County down 54-37. Townsend hit a one-handed shot to close the gap to 18 points. Young then blocked a shot and forced a Viking turnover. At the 5:37 mark, Townsend and Beachler ran a give and go play that led to a Wildcat layup and cut the lead to 15.
Despite the hard work on defense, the Vikings’ outside shooters got hot. Even well-defended shots fell for the Vikings. Every Pendleton County run saw a Petersburg answer. At the end, the opposing squad walked off with a 69-45 victory.