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Lady Pirates hold off Lady Hornets

PEDRO — As Ringo Starr once sang, “It Don’t Come Easy.”

Wheelersburg was a heavy favorite in Saturday’s Division III sectional finals at Rock Hill High School, but it was anything but easy.

Despite their problems and mistakes, Coal Grove refused to quit before succumbing 38-34.

The Lady Hornets committed 27 turnovers and shot just 13-of-39 for 33 percent. Still, they had the lead midway through the fourth quarter and a chance to win with under two minutes to play.

“Coming in we knew we didn’t match up with them. They’re very athletic and very explosive,” said Coal Grove coach Nick Miller.

“The defense gave us a chance to win it, but the ball-handling hurt us. I was proud our girls’ effort.”

Chelsea Delong had 4 points in the first quarter as Coal Grove held a 6-5 lead. But 11 second quarter turnovers led to easy layups for Wheelersburg.

A steal and layup by Molly Knapp put the Lady Pirates up 18-9, but a 3-point play by Kelli McMackin, a layup by Amanda Collins and two foul shots by Delong had Coal Grove down just 18-16 at the break.

Coal Grove trailed 24-21 with 3:36 left in the third quarter after a short jumper by Ashley Goad. The Lady Pirates went on a 6-0 run before Delong’s put-back with 1:26 left got Coal Grove within 30-23.

Delong drilled a 3-pointer to put the Lady Hornets up 31-30 with 6:06 left and a 3-point play by Darrien Hankins at the 4:32 mark extended the lead to 34-30.

Knapp took over for Wheelersburg with two foul shots, a 3-pointer to put her team up 35-34 with 4:03 left, and hit another trey at the 1:30 mark and it was 38-34.

“We’ve lived and died by our zone. We just kept a hand in their face and kept them out of the lane and tried to make them beat us on the perimeter,” said Miller.

“I feel fortunate that we had a chance to win. I’m proud of our girls’ effort.”

Delong led Coal Grove with 13 points and 12 rebounds. McMackin added 9 points and 6 rebounds. Hankins also had 6 rebounds as the Lady Hornets held a 34-23 rebound advantage.

Knapp finished with 21 points while Kalyn Bailey added 11 points.

Coal Grove finishes the season 7-13.

“This was a young group and they had a good year even though they were 7-13. There were two or three games they could easily have won,” said Miller.

Coal Grove 6 10 7 11 = 34

Wheelersburg 5 13 12 8 = 38

COAL GROVE (7-13): Ashley Adkins 1 0 0-0 2, Kelli McMackin 1 2 1-1 9, Amanda Collins 2 0 1-1 5, Chelsea Delong 4 1 2-3 13, Darrien Hankins 1 0 1-1 3, Katey Erwin 0 0 0-0 0, Taylor Fleming 0 0 0-0 0, Ashley Goad 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 13-39 5-6 34. 3-point goals: 3-13. Fouls: 9. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 11 offense, 23 defense = 34 (Delong 12, McMackin 6, Hankins 6). Team rebounds: 4. Assists: 4 (Adkins 2). Steals: 8 (Adkins 3, Collins 2). Turnovers: 27.

WHEELERSBURG (10-11): Sadie Ruby 1 0 0-0 2, Kalyn Bailey 5 0 1-2 11, Molly Knapp 4 2 7-8 21, Logan Barrick 1 0 0-0 2, Erica Schmidt 1 0 0-0 2, Katie Knapp 0 0 0-0 0, Corey Turner 0 0 0-1 0, Loran Spradlin 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-45 8-11 34. 3-point goals: 2-15. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 10 offense, 13 defense = 23 (M. Knapp 6, Bailey 4). Assists 2 (Ruby 2). Steals: 17 (Mo. Knapp 7, Bailey 3). Turnovers: 19.