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Ladies done with 2011 season

By Staff | Mar 2, 2011

The season has had its ups-and-downs for the local high school girls varsity basketball teams. Neither Tyler Consolidated nor Paden City earned as many wins as they had hoped when the season began, but both teams showed great improvement over their few months together.

The Lady Wildcats faced off with the Lady Yellow Jackets of Williamstown for their Sectional play-offs, falling to larger Class A school, 84-35.

“It was a tough way to end the season with a loss like that, but we did what we could do,” said Wildcat head coach Rick Bertozzi. “Our girls have played hard all year and have grown a lot and it showed at the end of the season.”

The Wildcats will lose two seniors, Joni Myers and Ashley Efaw to graduation in the Spring, but have a strong nucleus of juniors and sophomores returning to count on for next year. A new group of fundamentally sound eighth graders is expected to add some spice to the program in the 2012 season.

“I think the girls had a good time this year, at least I hope they did,” Bertozzi said. “I certainly enjoyed coaching them. I’m looking forward to next year.”

The Lady Knights took the trip to Newell again last week to compete in the first round of the Sectionals with the Lady Golden Bears of Oak Glen. A win would put the Silver in the finals, and on their way to Regionals, unfortunately, their season ended with the 53-49 loss.

Oak Glen put 17 points up in the first period of the game while holding the Silver to only six. Consolidated came back in the second period, adding 18 points to their side of the scoreboard, but still trailing at the half, 30-24. Two close periods in the second half had the Lady Knights almost tasting success, but Oak Glen out-lasted them for the 53-49 win.

“We came out slow in the first, but won the next three quarters,” said head coach of the Lady Knights, Matt Kinnard. “I have to give credit to King and Eckleberry (Oak Glen players), they controlled the game. We hated to go out like this, this soon, but we gave it our best shot.”

Torrye Cline led all Lady Knight scorers in the game with 12 points, and hauled in five rebounds. Keri Suter scored 10 points, had two rebounds, and one steal; Heather Suter chipped in nine points, pulled down eight boards, and stole the ball three times; Sophie Kinnard scored nine points, had seven rebounds, one steal and two assists; Sam Jones scored seven points, had four rebounds, two steals, and two assists; Lynsey Casteel, two points, and seven rebounds.

“Our team has grown and shown so much improvement from the first of the season,” the coach said. “Even on paper, our stats are better than they were at this time last year. Our rebounding has improved, our shot percentage, our turnover ratio, we’re showing improvement at every aspect and that’s a plus for the program.”

“You can never stop coaching fundamentals, and all of our players have improved.”

Tyler Consolidated will lose three important seniors to graduation, which Kinnard says will be hard to replace. “Heather Suter, Lynsey Casteel and Maddi Schablowski found their niche on the team and stepped up. They will all be missed next year.”

Kinnard is hoping the majority of the rest of the team will return to the court next season, but student priorities change in the course of a year, and some may opt out of the court sport. “I’ll miss them, the team will miss them, and the basketball program will miss them, but they need to do what they have to do. Hopefully the group returning will continue to work in the off season to better their games.”

“I’ve really enjoyed coaching these kids,” he said. “They played hard. I just wish we could have gone farther in the post-season. I’m looking forward to next year already.”

Kinnard also complimented Athletic Director at Tyler Consolidated, Ryan Walton, on his dedication to the sports programs at the school. “Ryan did a heck of a job promoting both the boys and girls programs, getting kids in the gym to watch the games and such. That really makes more a difference than people think. I appreciate what he did and I know the players do too.”