Western Hills routs Berea with 3s

By Linda Younkin Published:

Two shots, two 3-pointers, a 6-0 lead.

That set the tone for Western Hills’ girls basketball team in its game Tuesday against Berea at Lapsley Cardwell Gymnasium.

The Lady Wolverines (14-11) rode that fast start — and 11 3-pointers — to a 70-40 Senior Night victory.

“That first half was one of the best first halves defensively and shooting the ball we’ve had in a long time,” WHHS coach Buddy Ritchie said.

Western Hills shot nearly 80 percent from 3-point range in the first half while making seven shots from beyond the arc.

“You’re not going to have many nights like that,” Ritchie said, “but it’s a lot of fun when you do.”

The Lady Wolverines never trailed in the game. After falling behind 6-0, Berea’s Conner Coyle answered with a 3, but that was as close as the Lady Pirates (11-13) got for the rest of the game.

By the end of the first quarter WHHS was ahead 21-10, with 15 of its points coming on 3-pointers. Taylor Slade hit three treys in the period and finished the game with four.

“We worked the ball around to find the open person,” WHHS’ Jenna Harrod said, “and we scored most of the time.”

That trend continued in the second quarter as the Lady Wolverines extended their lead to 19 points at 32-13. Ritchie hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give WHHS a 35-17 lead at halftime.

After three quarters WHHS led 48-28.

“The stats I’m most pleased with are 19 assists and just five turnovers,” coach Ritchie said. “It was a good team win. Out of 12 kids who played nine scored, and four were in double figures.

“We did a better job, in the first half especially, of looking for the extra pass and open shot.”

Slade led WHHS with 14 points, followed by Ritchie with 13, Kayla Hortenbury with 11 and Harrod with 10. Hortenbury came off the bench to score her points, and she made three 3-pointers.

“Those 19 assists show we shared the ball well from top to bottom,” Ritchie said. “The kids coming in off the bench did well. We had a lot of production from a lot of people tonight.”

LaKenzie Ritchie had 10 rebounds and seven assists, and Harrod had five rebounds and four assists. Kimber Sutton, who had three points, grabbed five offensive rebounds.

Tuesday’s win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Lady Wolverines.
“We did it for our seniors,” Harrod said. “We wanted to win for both of them.”

Harrod’s sister, Becca, and Aja Leachman are this year’s seniors, and they were honored in a ceremony before the varsity game.

Becca Harrod hasn’t played since suffering a knee injury Dec. 19. She started Tuesday and was taken out of the game immediately. She returned late in the game and was able to take one jump shot before leaving the game again.

“We asked the kids to play hard for the seniors and send them off on a good note,” Ritchie said. “Becca and Aja have meant a lot to this program. We always ask them to play hard, but we asked them to play hard tonight for an extra reason.

“I thought Aja kind of started hustling and getting the energy going, and the other kids jumped on her back. She did a nice job of being a leader.
“They both said tonight was fun, but they’d still like to go to the regional tournament.”

Western Hills closes out the regular season tonight at home against Trimble County.

­BEREA (40) — Jordan Sandefur 7, Chase Fain 8, Victoria Sexton 7, Conner Coyle 10, Emily Keyser 6, Allie Maynard 2.

WESTERN HILLS (70) — Jenna Harrod 10, Taylor Vance 2, LaKenzie Ritchie 13, Taylor Slade 14, Shelby McDonald 2, Kimber Sutton 3, Aja Leachman 8, Samantha Roberts 7, Kayla Hortenbury 11.

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