Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — Seven different players scoring seven points or more. Now that’s a recipe for success.
In a 71-39 win over Piketon on Tuesday, Unioto used that exact blueprint as Addison Mohan, Avery Miller, Carissa Wheeler, Alexis Book, Ny Hatfield, Karlee Renner and Sophie Coleman all graced the scoring column with seven-plus.
“Here lately, when we’ve looked at the book, it’s been pretty balanced. But it’s been balanced at like four, five, three points here and there. Tonight, it was balanced with seven, eights and nines,” Unioto coach Jeff Miller said. “There’s your output difference. What’s usually a 40-point output turns into a 70-point performance.”
Alongside the balance that the Shermans (6-8, 5-5 SVC) displayed, they also put forth a stout defensive effort. In the first half alone, Unioto forced 16 turnovers to build a double-digit lead.
It’s something that Miller and his staff have been putting an emphasis on during practice.
“Coming into the last few weeks, we’ve kind of switched our identity to playing aggressive defense,” Miller said. “We want to create havoc and hopefully, that can help us create offense out of our defense. We were struggling on offense and thought we may be able to help that.”
Piketon (5-5, 1-4 SVC), which was playing without many of its usual suspects, took a 2-0 lead early in the first quarter when Natalie Cooper scored. The sophomore soon scored again to make it 4-1, but that was the last lead the Redstreaks had.
Book buried a 3 before getting a jumper to go with 5:35 left, giving Unioto a 6-4 edge. She scored again with 5:04 left, making it 9-4, before hitting a runner with 1:29 to go, making it 15-8. Mohan beat the buzzer with a half-court 3, pushing the edge to 18-10 heading to the second.
Renner and Mohan began the second with buckets, pushing the lead to 22-10, before Mohan and Erin Callahan logged back-to-back scores with 2:24 to go, making it 33-19. By halftime, the Shermans had built a 39-21 advantage and had started to pull away.
“We don’t want to say we’re playing for the future,” Miller said. “We’re playing for right now. But we talk all the time about what we define success as. The kids, right away, said wins and losses. While that’s true, right now, what I gauge our success with is growth. That could be a small amount of growth. But I think we’re really starting to see some of that.”
Coleman started the second half with a 3, making it 42-21. That sparked a 7-0 run, pushing the lead to 46-21, before Miller and Ameris Betts made it a 52-23 lead with 3:45 to go. Hatfield then got in on the action at the 2:38 and 1:48 marks, pushing the lead to 56-25, before the Shermans closed the third with a 61-29 edge.
Nothing changed in the fourth as Miller’s group continued to roll. Renner made it a 64-31 lead with a 3 before Coleman and Wheeler put the finishing touches on a 71-point outing.
Mohan led Unioto with 12 points, six rebounds and two assists while Wheeler had nine points and six boards. Miller finished with nine points, six rebounds and five assists, Book and Hatfield also had nine points, Renner finished with eight points, and Coleman had seven points and six rebounds.
Cooper paced Piketon with a game-high 14 points and six rebounds while Jenkins added 12 points and three assists. Addison Johnson also helped out with six points and four rebounds.
“Westfall has three really good kids who can hurt you night in and night out,” Miller said. “When you talk about [Gabby] Patete, [Mahaley] Farmer and [Marissa] Mullins, I think any of those three have the potential to go off for 20 points. You have to contain those three and then they have other role kids who can hurt you as well. The biggest thing is that you have to force them to play defense. We want to be aggressive offensively and go from there.”
Piketon: 10-11-8-10 — 39
Unioto: 18-21-22-10 — 71
Piketon: 15-45 FG, 9-15 FT, 0-7 3pt., 30 rebounds (McNelly 8), 21 turnovers, 6 assists (Jenkins 3). Scoring: Cooper 14, Jenkins 12, Johnson 6, Armstrong 4, Taylor 2, McNelly 1.
Unioto: 27-64 FG, 9-16 FT, 8-15 3pt., 41 rebounds (Uhrig 7), 11 turnovers, 20 assists (Miller 5). Scoring: Mohan 12, Miller 9, Wheeler 9, Book 9, Hatfield 9, Renner 8, Coleman 7, Callahan 4, Betts 2, Paul 2.