WILLIAMSTOWN - The Williamstown girls basketball team received a dose of its own medicine but lived to tell about it after defeating Tyler Consolidated, 81-72, in its season-opener Monday night at Williamstown High School.
Using the same tactics that earned them a trip to the Class A state tournament last season, the Yellowjackets pressured the ball baseline-to-baseline and forced Tyler Consolidated into 40 turnovers. However, the Silver Knights countered with their own version of a harassing defense as Williamstown committed 39 turnovers.
"Finishing with 39 turnovers is absolutely unacceptable," Williamstown coach Fred Sauro. "As far as turnovers, that is the worst thing I have ever seen."
Photo by Kerry Patrick
Williamstown girls basketball coach Fred Sauro speaks to his ballclub during a first-quarter timeout in the Yellowjackets’ season-opener Monday night at Williamstown High School. The Yellowjackets defeated Tyler Consolidated, 81-72.
Behind a 27-point effort from Sophie Kinnard and another 21 points from Sydney Reed, Tyler Consolidated answered every challenge given by Williamstown for three quarters and trailed by just two points at 54-52 heading into the final eight minutes.
Kenzie Smith, one of seven Williamstown seniors in the starting rotation, then practically took the game over after scoring 14 of her game-high 29 points during a 4-minute span which saw the Yellowjackets outscore the Silver Knights 25-8.
"We knew Williamstown was going to press, and we know how to beat that pressure and we did that a lot of times," Tyler Consolidated coach Matt Kinnard said. "If we make layups, it's a different game.
"Our press caused them four or five turnovers in a row, here and there. And in the past, we haven't been able to press Williamstown. It shows that we are coming along."
At one juncture, Smith played a role in seven straight Yellowjacket buckets after making six shots from the floor and assisting on another. She also finished with a team-high six steals and four assists.
"In the the fourth quarter, boy did the girls pick it up," Sauro said. "At the start of the fourth quarter, we started thinking about things we could do differently. But we also thought, this is what we do so we stayed with what it."
Of the four Williamstown players who scored in double figures, two produced double-doubles. Sami Rea contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Carley Ellison ended with 12 points and 10 boards despite battling foul trouble for much of the second half. Teammate Kathleen Cornell tossed in 13 points for a Yellowjacket outfit which returns to action Friday at home against Scott in the second game of the Fenton Shootout semifinals.
"Tyler Consolidated is a good team," Sauro said. "They have kids who can score and kids who can hit the boards. They have good athletes and they had everybody coming back from last year, so we knew they were going to be good.
After winning two straight to capture the championship at last week's Paden City Tournament, Tyler Consolidated dropped to 2-1. Allison Wable added seven points and 11 rebounds for the Silver Knights, who play host to St. Marys on Thursday.
"This is the best Tyler Consolidated has played in Williamstown's gym in the years I've been coaching," coach Kinnard said. "We played with them."
Tyler Consolidated's first lead of the night occurred before a second even ticked off the clock. A scorebook error on the part of coach Sauro resulted in a technical foul, and Wable made one-of-two free throws for a 1-0 lead in favor of the Silver Knights.
The last Tyler Consolidated lead occurred at 4-2 as Williamstown answered with six straight points to move in front to stay at 8-4. The Yellowjackets led by as many as eight points in the first quarter before extending the cushion to 13 points late in the first half.
The margin remained 13 (54-41) when Tyler Consolidated made its final push with 11 consecutive points just before the end of the third quarter.
Three straight Silver Knight turnovers to open the fourth quarter ignited a 12-2 run by Williamstown.
"We were in it until the fourth quarter," coach Kinnard said.
Roane County 31
SPENCER -Ravenswood rolled to its second straight win here Monday night, downing Roane County, 69-31, in a Little Kanawha Conference game.
The Red Devils, who led 32-11 at halftime, placed four players in double figures, led by Hannah Murray with 18. Melonna Carmichael and Taylor Youell had 12 points each and Hailey Miller added 10.
Roane (0-2) received eight points from Destinee Starcher.