Warriors outshine Quakers
BELOIT – West Branch Class of 2015 shined during Senior Night 2014.
The Warriors controlled Northeastern Buckeye Conference rivals Salem in the second quarter, and made Senior Night a memorable one with a 60-33 victory Saturday.
The Warriors improve to 16-3 overall and 11-2 in the NBC, two games behind Carrollton.
The Warriors adjusted its defense after leading by one in the first quarter, and the offense of juniors Melinda Trimmer and Pavin Heath took control, resulting in a 19-2 rout of Salem in the second quarter.
Heath scored nine of her 12 points in the second quarter courtesy of three three-pointers.
“We knew we had to come out and just do what we do,” Heath said. “The threes helped, but its the seniors’ help that really made the difference. They’re really a good group.”
Trimmer, who led the Warriors with 21 points, thought of senior teammates Amanda Linhart, Allie Garrett, Taryn Hahn and Lauren Martig for their final home game.
“I just wanted to go out and play as hard as I could for our seniors,” Trimmer said. “It was really important to me and our seniors that we took it to our rival.”
The dedication from Linhart, Garrett, Hahn and Martig was recognized throughout the last four years, and coach Walt DeShields gave the four the spotlight, naming them starters alongside Trimmer.
“We’ve got four special seniors,” DeShields said. “They all have great attitude. They all bring different personalities, but always put the team first. So it was a special honor to get them to start and give them a lot of playing time. It’s for sure a proud moment for their families.”
Heath and Trimmer will lead next year, but will also keep the four in mind.
“We’ve had two starters that were here for awhile,” Heath said. “It’s going to be a tough loss.”
“I wouldn’t be where I am without the seniors,” Trimmer said. “They picked me up when I’ve been down. They’ve just been going really well, and they showed that tonight.”
Linhart scored eight points while Hahn and Martig both scored two each.
Aside from the festive environment of Senior Night, the Warriors knew business had to be done, especially with the rival Quakers looking to take control in the first quarter.
“Salem is a scary team,” DeShields said. “We changed up our defense and that showed them down a lot. We were doing some full-court stuff where they were getting some looks on ball rotations.”
The Quakers (5-12, 2-10 NBC) had their best effort in the first quarter, taking an early advantage with scoring from Olivia Stiff and Megan Lehwald.
A close one-point game was what the Quakers look to keep, but they didn’t see a different Warriors defense in the second quarter, the catalyst to their downfall.
“They switched up their defense in the second quarter,” Stewart said. “We had a very tough time adjusting to that defense and it hurt us quite a bit.”
Lehwald and Chloe Cheresne led the Quakers with seven points. Cheresne and Julia Dundon returned after missing Monday’s game against Marlington.
“It was good to get them back,” Stewart said. “It has just been a rough time and we just need to continue working forward as much as possible.”
West Branch also won the junior varsity game, 58-36. Kaylee Manning led the Warriors with 14 points. Kendra Richardson scored 16 for the Quakers.
The girls tournament draw will be held this afternoon.
“We expect to be high seeded, but it’s about where they place us,” DeShields said. “It doesn’t matter though who we have. We look forward to playing strong throughout and look to go far.”
West Branch seniors Amanda Linhart, Allie Garrett, Taryn Hahn and Lauren Martig were honored between the junior varsity and varsity games.
Carrollton defeated Minerva 48-34 to clinch a share of the NBC Championship Saturday.
The game was moved from the old West Branch gym after a leak was spotted Friday in the roof of the new gym.
WEST BRANCH: 14-19-9-18-60
SALEM SCORING: Rylee Leider 0-2-2, Rylee Meals 0-3-3, Tori Jones 2-0-4, Megan Lehwald 3-0-7, Raegan Meals 0-0-0, Julia Dundon 0-2-2, Haley Carner 1-1-3, Olivia Stiff 2-0-5, Chloe Cheresne 1-4-7, Leah Menegos 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 9, 12-20: 33.
WEST BRANCH SCORING: Melinda Trimmer 9-2-21, Emily Menegay 2-0-6, Kaylee Manning 0-0-0, Pavin Heath 4-0-12, Mariah Herbert 0-1-1, Amanda Linhart 3-2-8, Allie Garrett 0-0-0, Catie Hahn 0-0-0, Paige Walsh 0-0-0, Taryn Hahn 1-0-2, Erica Johnson 2-2-6, Lauren Martig 1-0-2, Lea Bock 1-0-2. TEAM TOTALS: 23, 7-11: 60.
Three-point goals: Salem 3 (Cheresne, Lehwald, Stiff), West Branch 7 (Heath 4, Menegay 2, Trimmer).