Adena sitting comfortable
in the driver’s seat after
impressive road win at Unioto

By Shayne Combs,
The Lady Warriors of Adena used a spurt at the beginning of the second quarter to grab control of
Tuesday night’s SVC showdown at Unioto. The two-shade blue followed with another big run to
start the second half as they never were threatened in a 64-49 win – a victory that gives Adena sole
possession of first place as we near the end of the first round of conference play.

In the first quarter, Unioto had some success doing some things that I thought they needed to do in terms
of the offensive end. They were playing out in space in secondary break, and the Lady Shermans were
getting some solid looks at the basket. In fact on my unofficial stat sheet, Unioto scored six points in
secondary break in the first quarter, Hannah Miller was off to a seven-point first quarter (ended up being
her only seven points of the game), and the Lady Shermans were within three at 13-10 after one quarter
of play.

The problem for Unioto in the first half – and really all night for that matter – was simply figuring out
what to do with Autumn Smith and Jenny Grigsby on the defensive end. Smith simply lived in the middle
all night off the dribble. I had her for three first half baskets in the paint as well as two or three other times
where she created good looks for her teammates. Equally as dominate was Grigsby. The junior forward
was posting the smaller defender while facing up the bigger defender, and she too was scoring, getting to
the line, and creating shots for teammates. This led to another key in Adena’s impressive win which
was the ability of Michelle Ackley to knock down the open three-point shot. On the night, Ackley hit four
triples on her way to a game-high 18 points. Natalie Cooper and Alyssa Dawson also hit perimeter shots
in this game as the Adena spacing and overall balance just proved to be too much for the Unioto defense.

A big factor from the Unioto perspective was the first half foul trouble of Tori Cox. Cox, who did return
in the second half to score all of her team-high nine points, was absent for a big stretch in the first half.
This showed for the most part has Adena forced the Unioto offense into the half court in the second
quarter. Adena outscored Unioto at one point in the second period 18-5 to open up a 31-15 lead before
Unioto’s Alexis Overly hit a half-ending three-pointer to send the teams to the break with Adena
winning 31-18.

The Lady Warriors wasted no time in the third quarter delivering the knockout punch. Grigsby had a
steal, drive, and basket to start the scoring, and moments later it was Smith’s penetration once again
setting up Cooper for three. Finally, it was Cooper converting a steal into an easy two and Adena was up
20 at 38-18. Unioto head coach Jeff Miller tried to stop the bleeding with a timeout, but Smith continued
to live in the middle scoring on another drive and Ackley delivered another triple. At one point, Adena
led 48-21.

Unioto did end the quarter on a 7-1 run sparked by a Lauren Stout three-pointer, but even with that,
Adena led 49-28 entering the final quarter. Adena rolled from there for the 25-point win.

Adena was so efficient offensively. I give credit to Adena head coach Jeran Cox for getting his best two
players in positions where they could cause match-up problems, and I give Ackley, Cooper, Dawson,
and even Alyssa Kennedy and Bethany Delong off the bench, credit for making shots throughout the night.

Even with the impressive offense of Adena, an equally impressive story in the win was Adena’s
defense. I thought a big key was Adena’s ability to run Unioto off the three-point line in transition and
to be able to guard them in the scrimmage area without fouling. Coming into the game, I felt Unioto
needed to scored 15 points from the charity stripe as well as 15 points from the three-point line. All
totaled on my scrap sheet stats, the Lady Shermans only combined for 11 points in these two areas
combined. I thought this played a big role in the tempo of the game and therefore the final score.

I briefly mentioned Kennedy and Delong early in my recap. I think both of these players have given
Adena some much needed depth in the post. I think Unioto’s depth is going to only get better as the
season moves forward. Erin Bane played some Tuesday night for the first time as she has struggled
through a tough, yet rapid, recovery from knee surgery. Mallory Retherford is also continuing to work
closer to 100% from her knee surgery.

Moving forward, it is easy for fans to look ahead to the February 7th rematch in Frankfort; however,
both coaches, as well as Grigsby and Smith, were quick to tell me after the game that it was key that they
focus on one game at a time. You can hear all the post game interviews as well as plenty more game
recap on the upcoming episode of the Cardo’s Family Fun Center SVC Sports Talk Podcast Show
(to be ready for listen later in the evening of Monday, January 9th).