By Chris Slone
PEDRO —After a back-and-fourth affair, No. 4 Valley prevailed over No. 5 Wheelersburg 54-45 to win a Division III Southeast Sectional final match.
Valley was led by Lexie Doddridge, who scored 16 points after shooting 55 percent from the field, which included a 3-pointer.
Darby High also had a strong performance for the Indians. High finished the contest with 10 points, which included hitting two 3-pointers and recording four rebounds. However, even though performed admirably on the offensive end of the court, Valley coach Mark Merritt was impressed with his senior’s defensive effort.
“I thought Darby High did a tremendous job on Holden, holding her down in the first half a little bit,” Valley coach Merritt said. “I think we did an overall good job of holding her down.”
As a team, Valley shot 40 percent from the field and 36 from behind the arc. The biggest problem for the Indians came at the charity stripe, where they only converted 18 shots on 35 attempts.
“They were better on the offensive end then we were at that’s the difference in the game,” Wheelersburg coach Dusty Spradlin said.
On the other side of the court, Wheelersburg had a hard time making shots. The Pirates shot 29 percent from the field and only hit one trey despite attempting 12 shots from behind the arc. Brooklyn Adams led the Pirates with 14 points.
Wheelersburg did hold a sizable advantage on the glass, 34-23, with Sydney Holden pulling down nine rebounds. Holden also scored 12 points in the contest.
“In the end, we played some fundamentally sound defense,” Merritt said. “The only thing that hurt us was a couple of put backs but overall, it was a really good team effort.”
Despite struggling to score, Sarah Willis had a strong night on the glass, pulling down four rebounds for Wheelersburg.
Valley, who led 18-13 at halftime, found itself tied at the end of three quarters. However, the Indians outscored the Pirates 23-14 in the final frame to claim the victory.
“We both know each other really well and both teams guard really well, “Spradlin said. “I thought we guarded well. There were a couple of shots we would like to have back.”
Valley led 45-41 with 1:47 left in the contest before going on a 11-4 run to end the game. The Pirates had their opportunities but thanks to clutch free throw shooting from Megan Duduit, who hit two clutch shots from the charity stripe, to put the game away.
Wheelerburg will lose Maggie Stegman, Paige White and Sarah Willis to graduation.
Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 298, or on Twitter @crslone.
Wheelersburg 6 7 18 14 — 45
Valley 8 10 13 23 — 54
Wheelersburg — Adams 3-8-14, Holden 5-2-12, Smith 3-1-7, Akers 2-0-4, White 1-0-3, Willis 1-0-2, Murphy 1-0-2, Coleman 0-1-1. Totals 16-12-45.
Valley —Doddridge 5-5-16, High 4-0-10, Conaway 3-2-7, Conley 1-6-8, Duduit 2-2-7, Skaggs 1-0-3, Osborne 0-0-2. Totals 16-18-54.
3-point field goals — Wheelersburg 1 (White); Valley 4 (High 2, Doddridge 1, Duduit 1)