|Big second half earns ZT
key road win over Adena
|By Shayne Combs, SVCsportszone.com
In the early going of Saturdayâ€™s key SVC battle against visiting Zane Trace and the host Lady
Warriors, Adena was definitely the more aggressive team; however, defense and timely three-point
shooting helped ZT hang around as the red, white, and blue used a big second half push to prevail 37-31.
Adena had some success in their half court offense, and they took advantage of some fast break and
secondary break opportunities to build a 10-5 lead after one quarter of play. In the second quarter, the
trend continued as Adenaâ€™s Jenny Grigsby was causing some match-up problems for the Pioneers in
the scrimmage area. Zane Trace did not want the talented Adena sophomore to get easy catches down
low, so the Lady Pioneers were working hard to front the post. This was causing ZTâ€™s backside help
to get low on the midline, and Adena was having success moving the ball around the perimeter and
flashing open people to the high post. There was definitely a stretch in the first half where Adena was
dictating the action. Even though they didnâ€™t give up a lot of points in the first half, ZTâ€™s defense
lacked the normal intensity that I am accustomed to seeing when watching them defend, and I think
Adenaâ€™s execution had a lot to do with it.
The other big factor that gave Zane Trace some fits in the early going was the cross match-ups at the
guard positions. At times, certain possessions had dribble penetration or missed shots on the baseline
leaving guards down under the basket. This allowed each offense a chance to get out and go. Adena
took some advantage of this as they were able to get into their offense quickly without Zane Traceâ€™s
pressure being a factor. Towards the end of the first half, Adena had some more opportunities to take
advantage, but didnâ€™t quite get the ball pushed ahead quickly enough.
Entering halftime, the game had the feel of Adena being in control, yet when you looked at the
scoreboard, Adena led by just two at 17-15. The reasonâ€¦the three-point shot. Zane Trace, who made
only five field goals in the first 16 minutes made four of them from beyond the three-point line. Even with
the feeling of Adena playing the better first half, you had the feeling that the Lady Warriors had perhaps
lost a chance to be up by much more, and because of Zane Traceâ€™s solid defense and good three
point shooting, the Lady Pioneers were in a great spot entering the second half.
In the second half, the interesting adjustment came with Zane Trace on the defensive end. The Lady
Pioneers showed zone defense which allowed Erin Dailey to roam the middle more freely rather than fight
around Grigsby. She was joined by Hayley Carle and Sierra Sigman on the bottom of the zone and
Adena had trouble getting any good looks at the rim or on the baseline. The other reason this was so
successful was ZTâ€™s ability to still apply some pressure. The Lady Pioneers stretched out into the full
court as they utilized their long, athletic freshman in Carle on the point of their pressure before sprinting
her back to the bottom of their scrimmage area zone. This caused Adena some fits. The smaller Adena
guards were unable to throw over the top and Carle was making ball reversal difficult as well. All totaled,
Adena mustered only 14 second half points.
Adenaâ€™s defense was solid as well. Even though Zane Trace was making points tough to come by on
one end, Adena was doing the same on the other. Perhaps the biggest shot of the game came at the end
of the third quarter and again it came from behind the three-point line. The game was tied at 21-21 when
ZTâ€™s Kelsey Dunkle knocked down a triple from the right corner to give the Lady Pioneers a 24-21
advantage entering the final period.
The momentum of this shot carried into the fourth quarter. Zane Trace stretched the lead to six at 27-21
before Adenaâ€™s Autumn Smith nailed a three-pointer to cut the lead in half. The game stayed this way
for the next few minutes and that is when ZTâ€™s Sierra Sigman delivered some big offense on back-to-
back possessions. First, Sigman recorded an old-fashion three on a great move from the high post, and
the following possession, the senior showed some great fortitude on the offensive glass as she failed to
convert on her first offensive rebound but gathered her own miss and scored to give ZT their biggest lead
of the day at 32-24.
Zane Trace had multiple chances at the line to make things a lot easier down the stretch, but their inability
to shoot a high percentage (they were 8/20 on the day) opened the door for Adena. Hannah Halcomb
converted two free throws and Smith had a nice bucket off the drive to cut it to 34-28. Adenaâ€™s
Michelle Ackley then knocked down a three from the right wing and all of sudden Adena was back
within three at 34-31 with less than a minute to play. After Sigman made one of two, Adena had a
chance to get even closer, but a missed shot resulted in a huge rebound from Carle and the rookie added
a point at the line to put Zane Trace up 36-31. After another missed opportunity for Adena, Jenna Wiget
added one last free throw to give ZT the 37-31 win.
With the win, Zane Trace has a great chance Thursday night to take complete control of the league when
they travel to Unioto. If the Lady Pioneers win, they would be heavy favorites the rest of the way out to
get to 13-1 and win the whole thing outright; however, a Unioto win (which is what Adena needs), would
allow Adena to regain some control of their destiny because they still play Unioto which could perhaps
lead to a tri-championship.
Regardless of who wins what in the SVC, both of these teams are going to be major players in this yearâ
€™s postseason. Zane Traceâ€™s defense and toughness will always give them a chance to win, and
Adena, who is very underrated on the defensive end themselves, has two elite talents in Grigsby and
Smith on the offensive end who will cause just about any team in the area mismatch problems. The other
thing to keep in mind about these two teams is how battle tested they both are. You will not find too
many D-III teams in the SE district who contains the strength of schedule that both Adena and ZT play.