Golden Eagle girls ace Amanda 41-27 in Division II Sectional final
By GARY HENERY
News Managing Editor
The Golden Eagle pressure defense made an early postseason impression …
Eighth-seeded Big Walnut (14–9), holding Amanda-Clearcreek to 8 field goals while forcing 19 turnovers, opened Division II Central District play with a 41–27 Sectional Final victory over the visiting Aces last Wednesday (February 20) night in Sunbury.
With the victory, the Golden Eagles advanced to yesterday’s (Wednesday, February 27) District semifinals where they will take on top-seeded Columbus Eastmoor Academy (20–4) at 8 p.m. at New Albany High School. The Warriors advanced with a 65–31 Sectional final decision over Hamilton Township at Eastmoor Academy.
Big Walnut led Amanda-Clearcreek from the opening tip, shutting out the Aces out from the field in the first quarter in taking a 10–5 lead thanks to a pair of threes from sophomore Makenna Hammond and senior Stephanie Adkins. The Aces, who were 0-for-8 from the floor while committing 8 turnovers in the opening 8 minutes, never recovered.
After junior Skylar Fleak scored from the lane to push the Big Walnut lead to 12–5 off the second-period tip, Amanda-Clearcreek (11–12) netted its first basket of the game on a short jumper by senior Bekah Legg at the 7:27 mark to keep the Aces within five of the lead.
However, that was a close as it would get as the Golden Eagles, thanks to Adkins’ who counted her second trey of the game to go with a pair of free throws, outscored the Aces 7–2 over the final 7 minutes of the second quarter to take a 10-point, 19–9 lead into the intermission
For the half, Big Walnut was 7-for-23 from the field (30.4 percent) while committing 5 turnovers compared to Amanda’s 2-for-18 percentage (22.2 percent) with 8 turnovers.
“We played great defense,” Big Walnut head coach Bob Scott said. “When we scouted Amanda-Clearcreek we felt we would have success with our full-court press — and to a great extent I think we were successful.”
The Golden Eagles’ full-court pressure forced 19 Ace turnovers, mistakes the Golden Eagles would convert into 15 points.
Big Walnut came back out and opened up a 16-point, 28–12 lead, thanks to a a pair of threes by Hammond and a Fleak layin off a steal, The Aces would pull no closer than 11 of the lead the rest of the way.
“We were disappointed in our shooting tonight,” Scott said. “We missed a lot of open shots, especially layins. That’s something we will have to correct if we expect to go deep into the tournament.”
Big Walnut, which finished the night shooting 33.3 percent (15-for-45) from the field was led by Hammond, who counted three treys, and Fleak with 11 points apiece. Adkins, with her two threes followed with 8 points. The Golden Eagles were 5-for-9 (55.6 percent) from behind the arc. BW was 6-for-11 (54.5 percent) at the line. The Golden Eagles tuned the ball over 11 times with the loss of 4 points.
Junior Kacee Salyers led Amanda-Clearcreek with a game-high 14 points. Legg followed with 6 points. No other Ace scored more than 2 points. Amanda finished the night with an 8-for-37, 21.6 shooting percentage. The Aces, who were 0-for-9 in 3-point tries, were 11-for-17 (64.7 percent) at the line.
Amanda, thanks to 5-foot-11 senior forward Carlie Young’s game-best 13 boards, finished with a 40–31 edge on the boards. Fleak led the Golden Eagles with 7 rebounds.