WHEELING — For only the second time in the past 10 years, the Ohio OVAC Women’s All-Star Team defeated Team West Virginia 98-65 at the 44th Samuel A. Mumley All Star Basketball Classic on Sunday. afternoon inside the Palace on the Hill at Wheeling Park High School.
The Ohio team also won the game in 2018, but other than that, the Mountain State team has won every game since 2012.
The Ohio team did it on Sunday with a high-energy defense that kept West Virginia on their heels and produced easy scoring opportunities for the visitors.
After going back and forth to start, Ohio’s second-highest five slammed into the game and kicked off the series of stifling defenses that would lead them to victory.
“(Steubenville Central) coach (Jess) Looman did a great job bringing the three groups together and then turning them into three different groups in the second half,” said Monroe Central coach Troy Baker, who coached the Ohio team. “I thought all three groups were really strong and played really well together.”
This second group included Katie Zatta from Steubenville Central and the duo Hannah Archer and MacKenzie Dalton from Fort Frye. They held West Virginia to just one basket while on the floor, rebuilding a 12-2 scoring streak that put the Buckeye Contingent up 20-9.
Baker believed the familiarity of Archer and Dalton helped spark the team’s defensive effort.
“Of course they’ve played together at Fort Frye for the past four years and have great chemistry,” he said. “Dalton’s daughter looks a lot like Kalista Friday (of Monroe Central), she’s got an engine that won’t stop and she got it on her. Jules Hood and Abby Wayble of Buckeye Trail and Caldwell also gave us lots of bustle games.
Needing a spark, West Virginia reinserted starting center Carleigh Grimm of Linsly into the lineup and responded with six straight points that made it 22-15 in favor of Ohio.
“She’s a special kid, and not because of her athletic ability, but because of who she is,” Linsly coach Rebecca Upton said of Grimm. “I was proud of all the kids who were here today.”
Upton coached the West Virginia team alongside Trinity coach Mike Baldy.
Grimm’s boost didn’t last long, however, as Ohio orchestrated a massive 24-5 run that closed the first half and put them up 51-26 at the break.
The halftime show was a 3-point contest between three members of each team. Dover’s Zatta, Archer and Tori Jones represented Ohio while West Virginia had Grimm, Linsly teammate Haley Heitz and John Marshall’s Landyn Helms. Jones won with a score of 19.
Ohio stretched their lead to 33 points early in the second half, thanks to Archer’s 3 straight points.
Friday, who played for Baker at Monroe Central, also came alive in the second half. Her continually disruptive on-the-ball defense led to several steals and easy baskets in transition as she scored 11 of her 17 points after halftime.
“When there is a ball, Kalista is ready to play” said Baker. “She plays hard all the time, I never have to worry about the effort, it will come.
“It was great to get that last win with Kalista on Friday. Most times you can’t end your career with an athlete with a win.
West Virginia tried to piece together a comeback attempt, but 3 runs late by Zatta and Friday froze the game for the Ohioans to win 98-65.
Zatta led the winners with 18 points and four 3-pointers. It was followed by Friday’s 17 and Archer’s 11. Warren’s center Abbie Smith, who also scored 11 points and played hard in the post against Grimm, also stood out for Ohio.
“Abbie is good on both sides of the floor,” said Baker. “I thought she was extremely strong with the ball. If she catches it in the post, it’s about two points.
Jones finished with seven while Harrison Central’s McKayla Dunkle had six. Wayble, Dalton and Morgan Kiser of Dover each had five and Kacey Hastins of Buckeye Trail and Camryn Gebhart of Cambridge both scored four. Union Local’s Hannah Merrit scored three and Martins Ferry’s Maria Clark topped Ohio’s score with two.
Clay-Battelle’s Alivia Ammons led West Virginia with 12 points while making a 3-point trio. Grimm was right behind her with 10 points. Linsly’s Ally Hicks and Wheeling Park’s Haley Heitz and Jai’lah Walker scored six each. Madonna’s Vanessa Alatis, John Marshall’s Landyn Helms and Trinity’s Avonna Brown finished with five points.
Trinity’s Olivia Austin and Maggie Mercury each scored three and Brooke’s Madison Platt and John Marshall’s Catherine Hunnel finished with two each.
Upton said she was happy that all three Linsly seniors from this season were able to participate.
“It meant a lot to them together because they’ve been together for two years,” said Upton. “For our three seniors, getting there was really special. I was really happy for them.
“It’s supposed to be fun and celebrate the players they are individually, that’s what it’s all about.”
Ohio 98, West Virginia 65
OH—Archer 4 0-0 11; Clark 1 0-0 2; Daltons 2 1-1 5; Dunker 3 0-0 6; Friday 6 4-4 17; Gebhart 1 2-3 4; Gorby 0 0-2 0; Hastings 2 0-0 4; Hood 1 0-0 2; Jones 3 0-0 7; Kiser 2 0-0 5; Merritt 1 1-2 3; Blacksmith 5 1-1 11; Wayble 2 1-2 5; Zatta 7 0-0 18.
WV—Alatis 2 0-0 5; ammons 3 3-4 12; Austin 1 1-2 3; brown 2 1-4 5; Grimm 5 0-0 10; Heitz 2 0-0 6; Helms 2 0-0 5; Hicks 2 0-2 6; Hunnell 1 0-0 2; Platt 1 0-0 2; Mercury 1 0-0 3; soles 0 0-0 0; Tuttle 0 0-0 0; Walker 2 2-3 6.
3 points. Goals – Ohio 10 (Archer 3, Friday 1, Jones 1, Kiser 1, Zatta 4). West Virginia 11 (Alatis 1, Ammons 3, Heitz 2, Helms 1, Hicks 2, Mercury 1).
OH 51 47 — 98
MV 26 39 — 65