Pontius propels Lady Pioneers past PV
By Shayne Combs, SVCsportszone.com
Click here for pictures from Tracy Carle
Tuesday night in Bainbridge Paint Valley and Zane Trace got together to play for the outright third place
spot in the SVC standings. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this game other than the fact that
both teams would play hard and that it would be a physical battle where great defense was going to be
played on both ends. What I – and all fans lucky enough to see this game – saw was perhaps the
league’s most incredible ending of the season. I will do my best to describe the scene for those of you
unable to attend.

Zane Trace jumped out quickly in the first quarter as Kelsey Dunkle got loose twice from three-point land
and Devin Unger knocked down a deep corner jumper as well as Zane Trace led 15-8 at the end of the
first period.

Over the next 15 minutes, the Paint Valley defense allowed only six points as the Lady Bearcats led 18-16
at halftime and eventually 27-21 late in the third quarter. A late third-quarter field goal for ZT cut the lead
to 27-23 heading into the fourth quarter.

With this being the hard-nosed, bloodbath type of game that we all expected it would be, offense was
hard to come by on both ends. I thought both potential first-teamers played big for their respective teams.
First, Paint Valley’s Charlene Stout delivered – what seemed at the time – a potential game-
changing play as the junior hit a beautiful step-back three-pointer only to have Zane Trace’s Dunkle
answer on the other end with a triple of her own. Eventually – as the game clock ticked under the one-
minute mark – Dunkle was fouled in the act of shooting as Paint Valley’s senior Amber Lewis
fouled out of the game. Dunkle knocked down one free throw to tie the game at 32-32.

This is when all sorts of interesting basketball strategies started to come into play. First, Zane Trace had
only one team foul, so they were able to play extremely aggressive against the dribble as well as fighting
through screens. A series of fouls by Zane Trace resulted in several out-of-bounds situations for Paint
Valley. Finally, the Bearcats had the ball under their own basket one last time with four seconds remaining.
Paint Valley got a decent look at the basket, but the ball did not fall. Zane Trace’s Jillian Pontius
rebounded the basketball and started dribbling up the floor when the whistle blew as the game clock
expired.

After a brief meeting, the officials decided that the foul had occurred before the buzzer would have
sounded. Obviously, this sent the gym into an uproar. You had one side cheering as they realized their
team was just one made free throw away from winning the game, and you had the other side trying to
figure out if they really did just see a common foul called 70 feet from the basket in a tied basketball game.

Lost in all of this commotion is the clutch performance of Pontius. I was thinking about this on the way
home tonight. No matter who you were hoping would win tonight’s game, you had to respect the
ability of a sophomore stepping to the line with all other players pulled back to half court…on the roadâ
€¦with no time on the clock…and a one-and-the-bonus situation, basically meaning she had one shot to
win it or we were heading to overtime. Pontius knocked down the free throw to give her Lady Pioneers
the 33-32 win.

As mentioned above Dunkle and Stout made some big shots throughout the night. Dunkle scored 14
points to lead her team in the win while Stout scored 12 to lead the Lady Cats. Paint Valley’s Laci
Stanforth also played well this evening. The sophomore scored 10 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and
dished out five assists. Zane Trace also had a sophomore stuff the stat sheet as Hayley Carle scored just
two points but had 13 rebounds, five assists, and five steals. Unger and Joann Saultz also added eight
points apiece for ZT.

Some final thoughts from tonight’s game are extremely positive observations for both of these teams.
First, tonight was a big step for the Paint Valley program. Not only did Stout, Lewis, and Stanforth play
well, but Coach Holbert was able to get contributions from several role players including several
sophomores. As for Zane Trace, I just love the way this team defends. They always have a chance
because of how hard they guard you. They have good athletes, and if they can find just a little more
offense, this is a team that will be a tough out come tournament time.
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