Logjam at the top
Unioto wins in Frankfort to force three-way tie atop the
SVC standings as season reaches halfway point
In a year where Unioto is trying to become the first SVC girls’ basketball team to ever win four
straight SVC championships, the Lady Shermans have certainly faced some adversity. Saturday –
nearly a must-win if the purple and gold were to win it all in 2010-2011 – Unioto took a major step to
position themselves for the stretch run. A loss would have meant Unioto would drop to third place, two
full games behind Adena. Now, with the 58-37 win, Unioto is tied in first-place with both Adena and
Zane Trace, and the second half schedule completely favors Unioto as Adena, Zane Trace, and Piketon
will all visit Frenchtown during the second league round.

As for Saturday’s win, I thought a key element to Unioto’s game plan was its emphasis on the
defensive glass. Earlier this week, I watched Adena host Piketon, and the Lady Warriors dominated the
Lady Redstreaks on the offensive glass. Because that was a make-up game, Unioto’s team and
Coach Driggs was able to scout that game. In today’s early going, you could tell that all five Unioto
defenders – especially their guards - were making a conscious effort to limit Adena to one shot and out.
It was this solid positioning that forced a Jenny Grigsby over-the-back foul with 2:54 remaining in the first
quarter that really limited how much the Adena sophomore would play in the final nine minutes of the first
half. Grigsby would later hurt Unioto some on the offensive glass, but I felt this early attention to detail
really focused Unioto for what proved to be one of the more impressive defensive performances that I
have seen this season.

Unioto immediately took advantage. Unioto’s Hannah Miller – who ended with 16 points - was
able to get going in the middle scoring a couple early buckets, and a big three-pointer from the right wing
from Mallory Retherford helped Unioto to a 14-4 run that turned a 7-2 deficit into a 16-11 lead after one
period of play.

The second quarter started as if Unioto was going to take control. The Shermans were in the bonus and
the free throw line helped them stretch the lead to eight. Both coaches were forced to handle foul trouble
as Coach Cox was trying to spot Grigsby back into the game with two fouls, and Unioto’s Janae
Driggs picked up her second foul just 30 seconds into the second quarter which forced her to sit some as
well. Adena got a big spark from point guard Autumn Smith. Smith scored all eight of her points in the
first half – the final two coming on a big time drive, jump stop, and score that cut the Unioto lead to 31-
26 at halftime.

Plays like the great one from Smith and a few nice plays from role players Natalie Cooper and Alyssa
Dawson kept Adena close, but I felt going into the second half that if Adena didn’t find a way to
create some easier baskets, they were going to have trouble making up the deficit. Offensively, it just
never happened for Adena as Unioto’s defense locked down the Lady Warriors allowing just 11
points in the second half.

I will say the final score was somewhat deceiving because Adena didn’t go away until really late in
the fourth quarter. In the third period, Unioto stretched the lead to nine, but a Grigsby put-back bucket
and an old-fashion three from Brytan Givens – who led Adena with a team-high 12 points – quickly
got Adena back within four at 35-31. The game remained tight and eventually saw Unioto up 41-36
when the game’s final key sequence allowed Unioto to take control for good. The sequence started
with Adena having a lay-up on one end that would have cut it to 41-38. Adena missed the lay-up and
Unioto answered with back-to-back buckets by Retherford and Maddie Davis, so instead of the lead
being down to one possession, Unioto had now stretched it to nine at 45-36. The Unioto defense took
care of things from this point allowing just one point the rest of the way out. With Unioto’s defense
playing such a key role it would be unfair not to mention some other role players. Morgan Gumm did an
outstanding job on Smith. Smith did have a nice first half, but Gumm was able to limit the times she was
able to penetrate to the middle. Freshman Tori Cox, who has been asked to take on a bigger role since
Mackenzie Arledge’s injury, looked much more comfortable today than earlier in the year, and she
impacted the game defensively in the paint. Other athletes like Ashley Flautt and Davis also give Coach
Driggs some really athletic combinations.

The other significant play in the second half came from Driggs. The senior, who ended with a game-high
22 points, became the 49th girl in SVC history to score 1,000 career points. The milestone basket came
on an assist from Miller as Driggs made a nice basket cut and finished with the right-handed lay-up. SVC
fans, you can track Driggs and her climb up the all-time list on SVCsportszone.com by checking out our
1,000 Point Club . . .

IN OTHER ACTION SATURDAY…Zane Trace beat Piketon to create the three-way tie with
Adena and Unioto
…Walls scored 18 as PV picked up its third SVC win of the yearâ
Southeastern rebounded from a tough, Thursday night loss to defeat Huntington…Click here to see
tonight’s SVC McDonald’s i’m lovin’ it SVC Girls’ Basketball Scoreboard for all of
the scores, stats, and current SVC standings.