WILLIAMSTOWN - Kenzie Smith had the hot hand.
Williamstown's 5-foot-7 senior sharpshooter scored 28 points to lead the Yellowjackets to an 84-64 triumph over visiting Ritchie County in Little Kanawha Conference girls basketball action Thursday night.
"Our style of play creates a lot of openings on the floor, which is helpful to score," said Smith, who tallied a single-game career-high 34 points against Ritchie last season. "Some nights I'm on so I just keep shooting."
Photo by Michael Uhl
Williamstown head girls basketball coach Fred Sauro, right, stands with Liz Flowers, center, after presenting her with a framed Yellowjacket jersey during a ceremony at half-court. Assistant coach Howard Rowsey, left, holds a plague commemorating the event.
Carley Ellison and Sami Rea each added 11 points, and Kathleen Cornell and Lauren Amos chipped in with eight apiece for the 'Jackets, who improved their record to 2-3 overall and 2-1 in the LKC.
Overall, Williamstown hit six threes with Smith making four of them. As a team, the 'Jackets shot 50 percent (32 of 64) from the floor.
"We like to shoot the three, so we can penetrate," said Williamstown head coach Fred Sauro. "People want to clog us up. That was good that we took a team that wanted to take away the interior from us. We proved that we could hit from the outside."
Ritchie (5-3) was paced by Tristin Toman, who scored 28 points. Amanda Davis netted 11, and Abby Burgess had 10.
Sparked by Smith's nine first-quarter points, Williamstown, which never trailed in the contest, staked itself to a 23-14 advantage. Early on with the score tied 4-4, the Yellowjackets shifted gears and scored 13 unanswered points to take a 13-point lead.
"We try to be aggressive and we really like the up-tempo," said Sauro, whose team's full-court pressure produced several Rebel turnovers.
Ritchie finished the game with 30 turnovers.
"When we came out here, we knew it was going to be a track meet," said Rebels boss David McCullough. "When you play Williamstown, they're going to run and gun, and we just had a stretch there early in the first when we got a little bit frustrated."
At the start of the second quarter, Ritchie had a 6-0 run on buckets by Tristin Toman, Davis, and Vanessa Toman to reduce the deficit to three (23-20).
But Williamstown answered that surge with one of its own with Smith making a jumper, Allie Robinson converting two freebies, Ellison knocking down a jumper, and Smith getting a putback to push the 'Jacket lead back into double digits, 31-20.
At the break, Williamstown owned a 43-32 advantage.
In the third quarter, the Yellowjackets outpointed the Rebels 26-12, and led 69-44. Seven different maroon and gold players scored in the period.
"We love to run," Smith said. "It's our favorite thing to do."
Said McCullough, "Williamstown just started hitting some shots, and got that lead built up to 20 - and got into it."
Williamstown pretty much coasted home with the victory in the fourth period. Overall in the contest, nine 'Jacket players finished with points in the scoreboook.
NOTES: Head coach Fred Sauro and his wife Connie celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary Thursday...Former Williamstown standout Liz Flowers, now a freshman playing at West Liberty, was honored with a plaque at halfcourt before Thursday night's game tipped off. She is the only Yellowjacket basketball player (girls and boys) to have scored a career 2,000-plus points (2,024).