Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
FRANKFORT — If you play defense like Adena played on Thursday, you’re not going to lose many games. It’s really just that simple.
The Warriors forced 18 turnovers and held Paint Valley to a 25.6 shooting percentage on Thursday, paving the way to a 43-25 victory — and inching closer to a share of the SVC title.
“I think [Paint Valley] is leading the SVC in scoring this year. We have a lot of respect for [Paint Valley] coach [Tristan] Norman and for the job that she’s done. Their starting five is as good as anyone around,” Adena coach Andrew Day said. “So I was super proud of the effort tonight. I thought we were really locked in defensively, particularly in the second half.”
Admittedly, like their counterparts, the Warriors had trouble getting the ball in the net at times. They scored just six points in the fourth quarter but held the Bearcats to six points in the entire second half.
“You don’t always have to be pretty offensively when you can do what we did defensively tonight,” Day said. “Now, it’s something we have to get better at. We have to get better at running our stuff and executing. But super proud of the effort tonight.”
Leading the charge was veteran Jadyn Smith.
The junior had an uncharacteristic scoring night. But it’s what she did that didn’t show up on the final stat sheet that helped Adena (13-2, 9-0 SVC) seal the win.
“Taking care of the basketball has been a big focus for us. We went through a stretch where we didn’t take care of it very well,” Day said. “I know she only had four points tonight but Jadyn was huge in the sense of getting us in our offense and finding people in transition. We got some easy buckets in the first half and when she plays like that, she does good things for us.”
Adena’s Emma Garrison started the night’s scoring with a 3-ball at the 6:03 mark in the first quarter. Paint Valley’s Averi McFadden answered on the other end before Garrison got a bucket and a foul to go with 4:56 left, making it a 6-2 tally.
Makaela Lovely then dialed long distance, putting Adena ahead 9-2, before Makenna Lovely followed suit with 2.6 seconds left, making it a 14-6 score after one.
Caelan Miner stretched Adena’s lead to 16-6 with a bucket seven seconds into the second, before Kendall Dye and Olivia Smith teamed up to trim the deficit to 20-12. Abbi Stanforth then hit PV’s only 3 of the night with 4:13 left, bringing the Bearcats to within three at 20-17.
But Chey Ater, Makenna Lovely and Garrison spearheaded a half-ending 6-0 run to give Adena a 26-17 lead at the break.
In the third, Adena’s defense tightened its clamps further. While Garrison and Smith led the offensive effort, the Warriors held the Bearcats to just two points, opening a 37-21 edge.
That trend continued in the fourth as Paint Valley managed to tally just four points, compared to Adena’s six — most of which came at the free throw line — to put the icing on the cake.
Garrison led all scorers with 14 points alongside four rebounds and a pair of assists while Chey Ater had seven points and four rebounds. Makaela Lovely, Makenna Lovely and Kiera Williams also helped out, scoring five points each.
Smith led the Bearcats (9-6, 6-4 SVC) with nine points, 11 rebounds and two assists while Dye had five points and six rebounds. Stanforth finished the night with five points and four boards.
Paint Valley is back in action on Saturday at Eastern Brown, matching up with Ripley. The Warriors will return to the court on Tuesday, hosting Unioto.
“Unioto has improved a lot and they’re getting after people defensively and really starting to score the basketball,” Day said. “We know we have to put a good game plan together and be ready to go because we know they’ll be doing the same.”
Paint Valley: 6-13-2-4 — 25
Adena: 14-10-13-6 — 43
Paint Valley: 10-39 FG, 4-11 FT, 1-11 3pt., 32 rebounds (Smith 11), 18 turnovers, 4 assists (Smith 2). Scoring: Smith 9, Stanforth 5, Dye 5, McFadden 4, Weber 2.
Adena: 15-39 FG, 8-15 FT, 5-9 3pt., 24 rebounds (Ater 5), 9 turnovers, 8 assists (Ater 2, Garrison 2). Scoring: Garrison 14, Ater 7, Maka. Lovely 5, Make. Lovely 5, Williams 5, Smith 4, Miner 2, Foglesong 1.