The Thanksgiving holiday is a good time for friends and families to get together and spend some quality time with one another.
A collection of familiar faces were all in the same place over the holiday weekend as four Madison County girls basketball teams took to the floor at Jonathan Alder High School for the first annual Madison County Thanksgiving Kick-off Classic.
Two days of hoops action helped the four coaches involved Kevin Long (London), Steve Cawley (Jonathan Alder), Ernie Yutzy (Shekinah Christian) and Kevin Stockham (Madison-Plains) better assess where their teams are here at the beginning of the season.
Game 1 (Friday)
Shekinah Christian 44
The Red Raiders (2-0) opened the holiday season by sharing the ball in a comfortable 60-44 win over the Flames (1-1).
London moved the ball efficiently against a good Shekinah defense and was able to get good shots for the majority of the night. With most of his players back from a year ago, Long was happy to see his team pick up where it left off from last year.
“Shekinah is a good team and we knew they could shoot the basketball. Early on we let them shoot the ball,” he said. “But to start the season off with a win it’s a good night, but for the entire season there are things we need to continue to work on and build upon.”
The Flames came out shooting it well from the perimeter. Junior Kloe Yutzy hit three first quarter three pointers as the Flames jumped out to an early lead. But as soon as the London High School defense got it’s feet under it, the Raiders were able to pull away.
London led 15-11 after a quarter and stretched the advantage to 33-19 at the half.
London had a balanced scoring attack, as Emily Minner (18), Malorie Colwell (13) and Hannah Coleman (11) all scored in double figures. Kaitlin Patterson also had a good night finishing with eight points.
“Our team played hard start to finish,” Shekinah Christian coach Ernie Yutzy said. “We found out when you play a team that plays good defense and bumps bodies and stuff like that you’ve got to be strong. It was a wake up call for us. I was proud of our girls for playing hard and not giving up. That’s a really good team over there.”
Kloe Yutzy hit five three pointers in the game en route to a game-high 21 points. Natalie Headings hit three shots from beyond the three-point arc and finished with 13 points.
Game 2 (Friday)
Jonathan Alder 91,
The Lady Pioneers (1-1) are one of the most athletic teams in Central Ohio and those skills were on full display during a lopsided win to open the season Friday.
Using a suffocating full-court press for the first quarter Jonathan Alder was able to overwhelm the youthful Eagles (0-2). The Pioneers scored the first 25 points in the game and barely broke a sweat the rest of the way.
“You’ve gotta love being able to get so many kids playing time,” Alder coach Steve Cawley said. “That’s the way it’s going to be this year we’ve got a lot of kids who can play. Everybody played well tonight and we were even able to get a couple JV kids in there who not only played but also scored.”
With its defense swarming to the ball, the Pioneers were able to create easy looks on the other end of the floor. A majority of the Alder points were layups or short shots in the lane.
Sydney Bourquin (19), Emily Davis (16), Jillian Jaske (12), McKenna Huff (12), Corrine Parker (10) and Abby Jones (10) all had big offensive games for the Pioneers.
For Madison-Plains High School coach Kevin Stockham, he said his young players will continue to work hard and get better the more they play.
“We have one varsity returning player off a team that went 0-23. We have a bunch of kids who played JV last year,” he said. “We knew coming into this that this wasn’t the type of team that’s going to show up and win. We knew that. We know that we have to work hard.
“This wasn’t the ideal opening to the season you’d want. Jonathan Alder is a very good team that will probably win 16-17 games this season. Our schedule this year is brutal, but we’re going to continue to work hard and get better.”
Kerrigan Kelley scored seven points to lead Plains, Kati Powell (four), Addison Tesi (four) and Ellie Call (two) also scored for the Golden Eagles.
Game 3 (Saturday)
Shekinah Christian 61,
The Golden Eagles were much more competitive in their second game of the weekend, but the Flames were still able to get a comfortable victory.
Shekinah Christian led 12-4 after a quarter, 26-13 at the half and 37-20 after three quarters, but the Flames outscored the opposition 24-7 in the final stanza.
Mandi Scheffel and Madison Miller had 16 points apiece for the Flames.
Serenity Huffman (10) and Kelley (nine) were the top scorers for Madison-Plains High School.
Game 4 (Saturday)
Jonathan Alder 51
It was a big first quarter that carried London to victory in this battle of what are likely the two best teams in Madison County and two of the better Division II teams in Central Ohio.
London scored 24 points in a big first quarter as it led 24-11 after eight minutes and never once trailed.
Alder played the rest of the game better than even, but the damage done in the first quarter was too much to overcome. London outscored Alder 23-4 at the free throw line.
For the second night in a row the Raiders showed off their balance. Seven players scored between four and 13 points, with four reaching the double-figure scoring plateau.
Colwell led the way with 13, while a trio of players including Minner, Patterson and Karlie Alexander all finished with 11 points.
The Pioneers were also balanced with eight players scoring, but just one reached double figures (Emily Davis with 10). Unlike London who knows that it can go to Minner when it needs a bucket, trying to find that go-to player for Alder will be something the team works on.
“We’re 10 deep, I think we have 10 players who can put the ball in the basket,” Cawley said. “I think our depth and our athletic ability are our strengths. In crunch time who are we going to go to? Yes that’s a concern, but we’ll feel our way through it throughout the year.”
In addition to Davis’ 10, Bourquin and Melissa Walbom finished with nine points apiece for Alder.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.