Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — There were three occurrences where Peebles senior Jacey Justice missed a lay-up on Saturday.
And, although she admits she needs to hit those gimmes, they didn’t matter one bit. Why?
Because Justice still had 31 points and passed out six assists en route to a 66-30 rout of Trimble in a Division IV district championship — the Indians’ seventh in program history and third consecutive crown.
Lay-ups or not, you cannot stop Justice. You can only hope, or pray, to contain her.
“My freshman year, this was the farthest this program had been in like 20 years,” Justice said. “Since we got beat by Notre Dame [in the 2018 district final], I wanted to come back every single year. It’s just such a great feeling. We’re a good team this year. We play together really well.”
While Justice torched the Tomcats, Peebles’ Summer Bird came off the bench and played important minutes. The sophomore tallied six points and seven rebounds in the biggest game of her young career.
“Our girls on the bench are always hyping us up, whether they’re on the bench or in the game,” Justice said. “When they come in, they always hit big shots and they hustle. They’re the best bench ever.”
While Peebles’ offense was clicking on all cylinders, the Indians’ defense was just as good or better.
Trimble (18-5), coming off a 67-30 win over Paint Valley in a district semifinal, turned the ball over 21 times and shot just 14-of-46 from the field.
“Our defense pushed [Trimble] into places they didn’t want to go, [Peebles] coach [Billie Jo Justice] kept saying it was a tie game at the end of every quarter and that was our mindset,” Justice said. “
Justice began the scoring with 7:08 left in the first quarter before Trimble took a 3-2 lead when Briana Orsborne dialed long distance. But Payton Johnson quickly put Peebles (18-1) back on top at 4-3 and the Tomcats never led again.
Justice and Johnson combined to embark on a 10-0 run, handing the Indians a 12-3 lead with 2:08 left, before Peebles closed the quarter with a 16-7 advantage — thanks to a bucket from Bird with 10.7 seconds left.
In the second, Justice and company widened their lead. Gabby Cobb made it an 18-9 score before Bird scored for a 23-14 score at the 5:44 mark. Johnson then hit 3-of-4 free throw tries before Justice drained a 3 with 3:33 remaining, making it a 29-14 ballgame.
The Indians were up 31-14, after Johnson scored again, before Trimble’s Emily Young snapped another 10-0 run with a 3-ball. The Indians used the earned momentum to take a 35-20 lead into halftime.
Playing with a sizable lead throughout the second half, the Indians built a 48-24 advantage before taking a 59-33 edge into the final eight minutes. Not much changed throughout the fourth besides the fact that Peebles’ smiles on the bench grew wider, realizing a third straight district crown.
“With our team, it doesn’t matter how many Jacey scores. We all know our roles and we come together,” senior Lilly Gray said.
Orsborne led Trimble statistically with 13 points while Young added seven points, six rebounds and three assists.
Justice led all scorers with her 31 points alongside the six assists while Johnson finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Gray also helped out, scoring eight points and passing out three assists, and Bird had six points and seven rebounds.
Peebles will now meet with Berne Union in a Division IV regional semifinal. That contest is scheduled for 7 p.m., Thursday at Pickerington North High School.
“I’m just excited. We’re just going to keep going with it,” Gray said. “The more excitement and adrenaline we have, the better we are.”
Trimble: 7-13-11-9 — 40
Peebles: 16-19-22-9 — 66
Trimble: 14-46 FG, 7-13 FT, 5-14 3pt., 25 rebounds (Young 6), 21 turnovers, 8 assists (Young 4). Scoring: Orsborne 13, Young 7, Dixon 7, Six 6, Beha 5, Calentine 2.
Peebles: 25-52 FG, 15-19 FT, 1-7 3pt., 33 rebounds (Johnson 9), 13 turnovers, 17 assists (Justice 6). Scoring: Justice 31, Johnson 14, Gray 8, Bird 6, Moore 2, Cobb 2, McFarland 2.