Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
LOGAN — Two teams extremely familiar with each other will meet for a third time this season on Wednesday. Only this time, a trip to the Elite Eight is on the line.
At 8 p.m., Eastern Brown (24-1) and North Adams (21-4) will meet in an all-SHAC Division III regional semifinal at Logan High School, providing a rubber match after the two split their season series.
Here’s everything you need to know about the matchup before tip-off:
Projected starting lineups … North Adams: Guards Mary Sonner and Braylie Jones, Forwards Wylie Shipley and Marah Call, Center Delaney Harper; Eastern Brown: Guards Camryn Pickerill and Juanita Frost, Forwards Rylee Leonard and Emma Brown, Center Mackenzie Gloff
Fast facts … The Warriors won their district title over Oak Hill, the 13th in program history, thanks to a game-winning shot from Rylee Leonard with 5.8 seconds left. The win upped Eastern’s all-time district record to 19-14 and nailed down the program’s first district crown since 2017. North Adams’ district crown is the program’s first since 1998 and only its third overall. The Green Devils are now 12-13 in district action. Eastern Brown beat North Adams by a 55-51 final on Jan. 6 while North Adams returned the favor by a 39-31 tally on Feb. 6.
Potential X-Factors … Eastern Brown’s Juanita Frost brings a lot to the table, including veteran leadership, the ability to score from distance and experience in big games. In the Warriors’ district final win over Oak Hill, Frost hit two early 3’s, providing momentum and relieving pressure off the usual scoring suspects. She does the little things that don’t usually show up on the stat sheet. As for North Adams, much of the same could be said about guard Mary Sonner. The senior scored 10 points in the Devils’ win over Ironton this past weekend … the team won by nine. If Sonner can get into the lane, creating penetration, she’ll have the choice to score or pass to an open teammate for a bucket. Either option is a good one considering North Adams’ multitude of scoring threats.
To win, North Adams must … Take advantage of forced turnovers, guard the perimeter and keep the Warriors off the glass. In Eastern Brown’s past two contests, the Warriors have turned the ball over a combined 33 times. North Adams’ defense is playing at the highest level it has all season. Combine both factors and the Green Devils may have the chance to tack on points in transition thanks to created turnovers. Anybody that’s watched Eastern Brown play knows the Warriors like to shoot the 3 … and they do it well. In two district contests, the Warriors are 12-of-30 from behind the arc, or 40 percent. That trend can’t continue if North Adams wants to advance. In terms of rebounding, Eastern’s Mackenzie Gloff and Emma Brown are as tough as they come under the bucket. However, North Adams has Delaney Harper and, peculiarly, Braylie Jones from her guard post, who both monitor the glass well. It’s no secret that rebounding is a major key to winning any basketball game. That fact will be magnified on Wednesday night.
To win, Eastern Brown must … Get the ball in the hands of its playmakers, knock down the 3-ball and stay out of foul trouble. When she gets the chance to do so, Camryn Pickerill can take over a ballgame. The same could be said of Rylee Leonard. The Warriors will need to rely on both to produce scoring all game long. Likewise, Frost and Emma Prine were key contributors in the win over Oak Hill. If they start hitting, the Warriors are that much harder to top. As mentioned, Eastern has fallen in love with dialing long distance … and they’ve mastered the art. If they get open looks, chances are, the ball finds nylon. In the pair’s first battle, Gloff saw limited minutes because of foul trouble. Leonard experienced the same in the second contest. Make no mistake about it: Eastern’s weaponry needs to be fully loaded to beat North Adams, a team that’s one of the hottest in Southern Ohio. Staying in the game and away from whistles will be a huge factor.
If you go …
Tip-off time: 8 p.m.
Venue: Logan High School
Ticket price: $7 per person