By Stephen Smoot
As the entire state waited anxiously for the arrival of the largest snowstorm in at least two years, the Wildcats traveled north on US 220 to Petersburg. An illness and injury affected lineup took the floor of the George Halterman gymnasium to engage the experienced Vikings.
Petersburg controlled the tip and the first quarter of play. They took an early 5-0 lead in the first minute and a half before Susan Vincell hit a layup on an in bounds play under the basket. The Vikings, unfortunately, scored the next eight points.
With 2:48 left, Jessica Parker made a move to get past her defender, drove to the basket, and drew a foul. She made one of two to set the score at 20-5 with 2:48 left in the quarter. By the end of the first, the Vikings had taken a commanding 28-6 advantage.
The second quarter saw Avery Townsend fouled on a give and go play 30 seconds in. She made both to put the score at 28-8.
Petersburg continued to pile points, but the Wildcats still fought to make plays. Jameigh Miller had one of her best offensive performances, starting at the 2:06 mark in the second. She pump faked a defender out of position, accelerated past her to the basket, and laid in a bucket.
Miller then repeated the move and hit an off balance seven-foot jump shot at the 20 second mark. Jenna Smith ended halftime scoring by ripping away a steal and hitting a shot from the foul line to close the gap to 41-21.
The third quarter saw a Pendleton County squad determined to fight their way back into the game. Avery Townsend found Julia Mongold on a fast break. Mongold completed the layup. Townsend then took the ball from the Vikings. That possession resulted in Vincell’s first three-point basket. Vincell then blocked a Viking shot.
Townsend followed the block with a layup at the 5:23 mark. Thirty seconds later, she went coast to coast and scored a layup to cut the lead to 10, 41-31. Petersburg scored the next five, but Miller answered with another drive to the basket capped by a layup.
The Vikings surged in the last five minutes, however, to extend their lead back out to 19.
Early in the fourth, Mongold pulled down an offensive rebound and laid in a basket. At almost the six minute mark, Miller followed with her own coast to coast drive and score. A subsequent Townsend layup put the score at 57-41 with 5:38 left to play.
Vincell then blocked a shot, scored a layup on an offensive rebound, and took a steal, all within 30 seconds. At the 3:18 mark, Townsend used a Miller pick at the top of the key to free herself and hit a three-point basket to put the score at 62-48. Townsend returned the favor, giving an assist to Miller as she connected on a three-point basket.
Laying a foundation often serves as the most difficult part of building a structure to last. Getting the pieces prepared and in the right position is key. Donnie Kopp inherited a squad that lost three key starters and he is building a program on the efforts of younger players long on enthusiasm and determination, but somewhat shorter on experience.
The work performed building the foundation will pay off as the Wildcats continue to scratch and claw its way through a tough schedule.
Townsend led scoring with 24 points and in steals with six. Miller followed with 17 points, hitting 68 percent of her shots from the field. Vincell scored seven points and hauled down an equal number of rebounds. Olivia Gonshor, Mongold, and Smith all scored two and Parker one.