Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
SOUTH WEBSTER — West came into Monday’s league contest at South Webster with one thing on its mind: containing Jeeps guard Bri Claxon.
It’s certainly a task that’s easier said than done. Claxon has led the Jeeps in scoring all year long and has routinely made reaching double-digit scoring figures look like a cake walk.
But on Monday, Claxon was hounded by West’s Lexi Deaver for 32 consecutive minutes. Deaver’s efforts were echoed by her teammates who, collectively, allowed just three points and not a single field goal throughout the third quarter.
That was the recipe to a 52-37 win over the Jeeps, and one that builds confidence moving forward.
“From the time that we switched defenses in the first quarter, we just played lights out on that end. Everybody stepped up and was in helpside defense when they should have been,” Artrip said. “We knew we had one key player to stop and I felt like Lexi Deaver stopped her. But hats off to [South Webster’s] Bri Claxon. She’s a great player. I’m just proud our girls can take the floor with a player like her.”
Meanwhile, on the offensive end, the Senators (8-6, 7-5 SOC II) spread the wealth.
Eden Cline, Maelynn Howell and Haley Coleman all scored at least 10 points while Deaver, Keima Bennett and Charlie Jo Howard also graced the stat sheet.
“We really worked on having patience these last couple of days,” Artrip said. “Patience was what led us to success on the offensive end. We’re a young team and patience isn’t a friend of young teams sometimes. But tonight, I feel like it was the first game where we’ve exhibited patience. That led to points and points led to that win.”
South Webster (11-7, 7-6 SOC II) got an early boost from Claxon, who scored the game’s first seven points. Deaver finally got West on the board with 4:07 left in the first quarter before hitting a 3 with 2:45 left, cutting the deficit to 9-5.
Bennett then logged an old-fashioned three-point play, making it 9-8 at the 2:16 mark, before Cline hit two free throws with 25.4 seconds left, giving West its first lead at 12-11.
The second was a back-and-forth affair that featured 10 lead changes.
The Jeeps, who played much of the quarter without foul-troubled Faith Maloney, took a 21-20 advantage with 1:57 to go. But the Senators countered with a 5-0 run to end the first half, courtesy of Coleman and Cline.
Then, in the third, it was all Senators.
Cine sank a triple with 6:38 left before Howell hit back-to-back shots, putting West ahead 32-21 and sparking a 14-0 run that ended with buckets from Deaver, Cline and Howell.
By the 3:27 mark, West had seized a commanding 39-21 lead.
“We came out with a different lineup in the third quarter because that’s what had been working in the second,” Artrip said. “We have great kids. But we don’t have that one key player that goes out and scores all of our points. So we mix very well.”
Coleman scored with 22.4 seconds left, making it a 43-22 game and handing the Senators their largest lead of the night, before South Webster’s Skylar Zimmerman hit a pair of freebies.
After entering the fourth with a 43-24 advantage, the Senators kept their foot on the gas. Cline drilled another trey with 4:14 remaining, Howard scored twice in the fourth and West put away an important win.
Cline led the Senators with 13 points while Howell added 10 points and 15 rebounds. Coleman finished with 10 points, five boards and three assists, Deaver had eight points and three assists, and Bennett added seven points.
For South Webster, Claxon finished with a game-high 19 points while Maloney added five points and 15 rebounds. Zimmerman also helped out, totaling six points and three rebounds.
West is back in action on Wednesday, hosting Ironton St. Joe in non-league action, while South Webster travels to Wheelersburg on Thursday.
“Moving forward, we have six games in the next 10 days,” Artrip said. “We were in quarantine and I think over that time, we had a lot of time to think about what basketball means to them. They came out and they realized that we’re good. We’re just young. But we can’t use that excuse anymore. So for morale, moving forward, that was a win that we had to get.”
West: 6-9-14-13 — 52
South Webster: 10-12-13-13 — 37
West: 18-57 FG, 11-16 FT, 5-14 3pt., 36 rebounds (Howell 15), 14 turnovers, 10 assists (Coleman 3, Deaver 3). Scoring: Cline 13, Howell 10, Coleman 10, Deaver 8, Bennett 7, Howard 4.
South Webster: 14-49 FG, 6-12 FT, 3-12 3pt., 31 rebounds (Maloney 15), 18 turnovers, 6 assists (Shupert 2). Scoring: Claxon 19, Zimmerman 6, Maloney 5, Shupert 4, Wright 3.