Two of the areas best girls basketball teams met in Millersburg for a late-season test before heading to their respective state tournaments.
Coming into the game, both West Holmes and Waynedale sported 17 wins, had won a game against a juggernaut opponent at the Classic in the Country, and both made deep state tournament runs a season ago.
Marquee match-up? Yes.
Big time battle? Yes.
Full house in attendance? Yes.
In the end, it was their patience on offense that earned Waynedale a 50-34 non-conference win over West Holmes on Feb. 4.
This year the Lady Knights have only given up 40 points or more in seven of their previous 19 games and in two of those games it was exactly 40 points allowed. (Both to Wooster) The Golden Bears were able to put up 50, the first time this season a West Holmes opponent has reached that mark.
The Golden Bears (18-3) were led by junior Adessa Miller who, despite picking up some cryptic foul calls and being in foul trouble most the game, scored 16 points for the victors including three triples. Miller got help from junior guard Alyssa Geiser who also reached double figures with 13 points.
West Holmes’ (17-3) senior Ella McMillin notched 16 points of her own to keep pace with Waynedale’s Miller. The Lady Knights also got six points from Keegan Uhl and four each from Chloe Patten and Briar Cline.
Early in the first quarter two Uhl freebies and one free throw from Patten gave West Holmes an early 5-2 lead. Waynedale would then score 12 points to end the quarter to West Holmes’ just two and the Golden Bears led after one 14-7. (VIDEO: Miller gives Golden Bears 7-5 lead in first)
After a Miller layup that gave Waynedale the 7-5 lead in the first, the Golden Bears would not relinquish the lead the rest of the game.
Waynedale pushed out their lead to 26-11 in the second period when Tiana Mast drained a wide open 3-pointer and Sydney Reiber hit a couple free throws.
With Waynedale picking up fouls at a high rate, Cline, Uhl and Allie McMillen all sunk late second quarter free throws to close the Waynedale gap to 26-16 at the half.
In third quarter the smooth lefty Jewel Persinger started the period off with a corner three for Waynedale making it four different Golden Bears to knock down a triple in the game.
The trend continued for Wayndale as a fifth player knocked down a 3-ball for them when freshman Kylie Geiser stroked a 3-ball to join the long distance party. Kylie Geiser’s deep dagger put Waynedale up 38-23 with 1:48 to play in the third.
Alyssa Geiser and Ella McMillin traded baskets to end the third and Waynedale led 41-26 headed in to the fourth. (VIDEO: Ella McMillin dips to the paint for two of her 16 points)
Cheyanne Chupp’s free throw got Waynedale to the 50-point mark late in the fourth and gave Waynedale their largest margin at 50-31.
Patten hit a three late in the corner for West Holmes to close it out.
Both teams will continue their push towards the second season with big games coming up this week.
West Holmes will make the short trip to Hiland on Thursday, Feb. 9 to take on the 15-6 Hawks. Meanwhile, Waynedale will have a date with Dalton on Thursday with large Wayne County League implications at stake. Currently Waynedale is tied with Smithville and Chippewa atop the WCAL as they all sit at 11-2 in the league.
Big games looming, but this one definitely helped prepare both squads for a state tournament run.