ASHVILLE — Teays Valley went all-out with Canal Winchester for 32 minutes Friday night and needed another four to finally knock off the Indians 59-53 and claim a Central District Division I sectional title.
“We’ve had a lot of intense games this season, I can’t tell you how many overtimes. We were pretty comfortable,” Teays Valley’s Jaylah Captain said. “I think we were sound, I think we knew what we were doing, we were used to it. So the intensity was great.”
The game also capped an undefeated season for the Vikings on their home floor.
“I love the atmosphere here at home and it just helps push you to want to win more and gives you that drive,” Captain said.
Coach Joel Baker said it was the hard work since day one that helped his team advance.
“That’s the girls’ work ethic — they practice at a high intensity for two hours every single day. It sucks on a Tuesday night in December when you’re running your butt off, but it pays off in games like this,” he said. “We were able to get a lot of easy layups late in that game because they were more tired than we were.”
It was Captain converting some easy layups in overtime as she drove the lane three times and scored on all three.
“At the beginning of the game I wasn’t playing well, nothing was falling. I knew I had to do something,” she said. “When I drove the ball, I saw the lane was wide open and my layups finally started falling.”
With those layups and a free throw later in OT, Captain finished as TV’s leading scorer with 16 points.
The Vikings struggled from the field as they were 21-63 (33 percent) on the night, but Baker said he told his players to keep shooting as the percentages were sure to switch in their favor.
“They were really guarding the three-point line so they weren’t helping on those drives at all. So we had them all day. It was just a matter of getting a couple to fall,” Baker said. “Jaylah found a matchup that worked and we were going to do that every single time until they found a way to stop it. And that’s what hard-working kids do – they find a way to finish at the end of the game.”
Friday’s game started off with the Vikings (21-3) getting a 14-9 lead as Kierstyn Liming sunk two threes, Reagan Willingham and Captain each had a three and Bri Russell scored.
The Indians (13-10) turned the tables in the second period as they hit 7 of their first 8 shots from the field and held a 27-22 lead at halftime.
The Vikings retook the lead in the third with two baskets off turnovers in the final minute and were up 35-34 entering the fourth quarter.
TV had the lead up to 47-42 with 3:30 left in regulation. The Indians scored the next seven points to go up 49-47 with 35 seconds remaining.
Bri Russell drove and scored with 18 seconds to tie the game and Captain came through with a steal in the closing seconds as CW was looking for a chance to win.
Along with Captain’s 16, Willingham had 13, Liming had 12 and Russell put in 10.
“That is us — it’s been like that every single game. It’s been different people at different games who’ve stepped up,” Baker said. “It’s been somebody like Jaylah who’s having an OK game scoring wise who suddenly pushes us over the top.
“Having that balance is why we’re 21-3 because you can’t focus on one kid. And they don’t care who it is. Tonight it was Jaylah, tomorrow it could be Megan and nobody cares on this team who it is as long as we have a higher score at the end of the game.”
With both teams shooting less than 40 percent from the field, there were plenty of rebounds to be had and CW ended the night with a 51-31 edge led by Kynadee Anthony with 13 to go with six points and Shalyea Byrd had 12 rebounds to go with four points.
Captain and Willingham each had six rebounds for TV.
Natalie Rarick led CW with 16 points and Amanda Rarick had 11.
“This was a team that was an 18th seed that jumped right on us to come to our place to play us,” said Baker, who’s Vikings were the 11th seed. “It’s validation. We come from the MSL and these OCC schools think we’re going to be a pushover. This year it may not help, but it gives recognition in the future.
“The MSL is a really tough league this year – Bloom could win a district, Circleville could win a district, Amanda could win a district. It’s just good for our league and good for our school and it’s fun to get free basketball.”
Up next for the Vikings is a trip to Hamilton Township High School Wednesday to play Reynoldsburg in a district semifinal.
“We all want to win and we’ll do whatever it takes to get to the next level, take that next step — we don’t care what it is, we want to keep advancing,” Captain said.
Reynoldsburg (18-6), the No. 5 seed, advanced by beating No. 43 Mifflin (4-18) 72-9.
Teays Valley 59, Canal Winchester 53 OT
Canal Winchester — Coleman 4-0-9, A Rarick 5-0-11, Anthony 3-0-6, Edwards 2-0-5, N Rarick 6-4-16, Woodrow 1-0-2, Byrd 2-0-4. Three-point goals — Coleman, A Rarick, Edwards. Totals — 23-59 4-7 53.
Teays Valley — Willingham 5-1-13, DeWeese 2-0-5, Captain 5-5-16, Bush 1-0-3, Liming 4-1-12, Russell 4-2-10. Three-point goals — Willingham (2), DeWeese, Captain, Bush, Liming (3). Totals — 21-63 9-14 59.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 OT F
Canal Winchester 9 18 7 15 4 53
Teays Valley 14 8 13 14 10 59