Rittenhouse drive and kick

With a Paint Valley defender stepping over to block her path, Western freshman Jordyn Rittenhouse rises to put up a shot over her outstretched arm during the second half of Saturday’s home game.

As a young team continuing to fight through the basketball season, the Western Lady Indians played a pair of close games at home with Paint Valley and Ironton St. Joseph, but they ended up dropping them both.

On Saturday, the Lady Indians fell to Paint Valley 56-42 after the Lady Bearcats took control early. Western rallied to cut the lead to single digits in the third quarter, but the Lady Indians couldn’t hold that advantage. On Monday, Western kept the game with Ironton St. Joseph close through the first half, before falling 50-39.

After Paint Valley won the opening tip and scored immediately in Saturday’s contest, Western’s lone lead in the contest came when Alicia Francis connected on a three-pointer to make it 3-2. The Lady Bearcats followed with back-to-back baskets before Western freshman Kenzi Ferneau set Alyssa Marhoover up for a shot in the paint. Marhoover was fouled on the play, hitting the second of two attempts to move Western within two, 6-4. Ferneau had the next bucket to keep it a two-point game, 8-6. Paint Valley scored on back-to-back before Francis used an offensive rebound and an assist to give Marhoover the opportunity to score, 12-8. Paint Valley scored three more times in the quarter to go up 18-8.

The Lady Bearcats continued their run to start the second quarter, adding seven more points before Western could break through when Ferneau came up with a loose ball and scored to make it 25-10 with 5:03 left in the half. After Paint Valley scored, Ferneau was to make another play, stealing the ball before eventually getting it to Brooklyn Tackett for a basket, 27-12. The Lady Bearcats increased their lead to 17 again on a drive from Hannah Uhrig. Then Western sophomore Chloe Beekman delivered a three-pointer. She followed with a steal and fired a pass to Francis for a layup, cutting the lead to 12, 29-17.

Paint Valley went up by 14, 31-17, before the Lady Indians cut the lead down to single digits. Ferneau went to the line for a pair of free throws. Then Western freshman Jordyn Rittenhouse connected on a trifecta, cutting the advantage down to nine, 31-22. The Lady Bearcats went back up by 11 on a steal and bucket, 33-22, to end the scoring in the first half.

The start of the third quarter was Western’s best chance to get back in the game. After Paint Valley moved the lead up to 13, 37-24, the Lady Indians cut it down to seven with a 6-0 run. Tackett started the run with a free throw. Ferneau had the next basket, which was her second of the quarter. Then Beekman came up with the ball and scored on a fast break, drawing a foul to convert a three-point play, 37-30.

The two teams battled for the next few minutes, but neither could get a shot to fall. Eventually a Paint Valley steal led to a three-point play, opening a double-digit lead again at 40-30. A Western turnover led to two more points for Paint Valley on the line. Beekman answered for Western, keeping the differential at 10, 42-32. But the Lady Bearcats closed the quarter on a 5-0 run, going up 47-32.

In the fourth quarter, Western cut the lead to 10 for a final time, 52-42, by adding five unanswered points. Marhoover was able to get to the line on three straight possessions, hitting one-of-two freebies each time. Then Beekman scored on another fast break to get her team within 10 with 4:06 to go, 52-42. But Western couldn’t score again. The Lady Indians didn’t allow the Lady Bearcats to score easily, but they did add four more points to make the lead 56-42.

“We lost that game in the first quarter,” said Western coach Mike Jordan. “We haven’t put a whole game together this year.”

Two Lady Indians reached double figures in scoring with Ferneau having 12 and Beekman providing 10. Hanna Uhrig led Paint Valley with 11 points, followed by Baylee Uhrig with 10 points.

On Monday evening, the Lady Indians entertained Ironton St. Joseph and kept the game close through the first half. But the visiting Lady Flyers cranked up their offense in the third quarter, going up by double digits en route to a 50-39 win.

Jordyn Rittenhouse led the Western attack in the opening quarter, scoring eight of her team’s 13 points. Alicia Francis added a pair of buckets, while Alyssa Marhoover split a pair of free throws. The Lady Flyers could only generate five points.

Western’s 13-5 advantage was trimmed down to three points in the second quarter. Kenzi Ferneau had the lone bucket for the Lady Indians with a three-pointer. St. Joseph had Emma and Bella Whaley add two buckets each. At the break, Western was ahead 16-13.

Coming out of the break, Western’s offense increased again, but so did Ironton St. Joseph’s. The Lady Indians managed 10 points with five coming from Marhoover. Rittenhouse connected on another three-pointer, while Brooklyn Tackett broke into the scoring column with a bucket. But the Lady Flyers countered with 22 points with Bella Whaley having 13 of those. Heading to the final quarter, Ironton St. Joseph was up 35-26.

The final quarter saw Tackett, Ferneau, Rittenhouse and Francis all combine for 13 points for the Lady Indians. But the Lady Flyers added 15 with Emma Whaley having nine of those to complete the 50-39 win.

Rittenhouse was the lone Lady Indian to reach double-figure scoring with 16 points. Francis followed with seven points, while Ferneau and Marhoover had six each, and Tackett provided four.

Bella Whaley finished with 22 to lead St. Joseph, followed by Emma Whaley with 16.

The Lady Indians (2-15, 2-8 Southern Ohio Conference Division I) will head to Clay Thursday.

Email at jbillings@newswatchman.com; follow on Twitter @ Julie_Billings

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