PDT Sports Writer
JACKSON — Reedsville Eastern and Waterford have been road blocks for Scioto County girls teams in Division IV tournament action in recent history.
Saturday afternoon, No. 3 Clay ran into the latter and received the same fate. The No. 2 Wildcats pulled away in the second half of the second district semifinal at Jackson High School and eliminated the Panthers 49-35.
“I thought that defensively, we did what we wanted to do and we had the pace of the game to where we needed it to be against them,” Clay coach Kevin Castle said. “We contested a lot of (Waterford senior Brooke Drayer’s) shots.”
Drayer, who was the Division IV Southeast District co-Player of the Year last season, was held scoreless in the first half. It wasn’t until the second half where she scored all 16 of her points to lead all scorers.
“We didn’t bank on that at halftime that it would continue,” Castle said. “She’s a good shooter and they have other good shooters.”
While Drayer struggled from the field, the Panthers took advantage. Despite committing 20 turnovers in the first half, Clay took its only lead of the game at 15-13 with 1:04 until the half courtesy of a Katie Redding field goal.
On the next trip down, freshman Dani Drayer was fouled by Panthers senior Alison Castle beyond the arc. Drayer made all three shots from the charity stripe and gave the Wildcats an 18-15 lead into the intermission. It was the final lead change of the event.
At one point, the elder Drayer scored the final nine points of the third and the first five of the fourth. She was 7-of-19 from the field for the day.
Another facet of the game that proved to be Clay’s demise was the effort on the glass. Waterford finished with a 17-6 offensive rebounding advantage.
“We yelled about it all game, keep boxing out,” Kevin Castle said. “If they miss it from 20 feet, we can’t let them shoot it from two. Especially in the first half, there were some big second chance points.”
Coach Castle understood things started to get out of hand in the third quarter when the spread jumped to 10 points.
“They’re a very explosive team and when it starts going up and down, that’s in their favor,” he said. “They’re a fast-break, really get it out (team), especially when they’re making some outside shots and they can get into their pressure.”
Redding led the Panthers with 15 points and eight rebounds.
“I thought when she was getting looks, even at the high-post area, she knocked down a couple,” Kevin Castle said. “She did a nice job.
“…I’ve said it before, she’s always been that constant in the middle for us.”
Clay will lose Alison Castle, Madison Whitley, Courtney Delotell and Marta Tomasi to graduation.
“We talked with the team and we just thank them,” Kevin Castle said. “We appreciate not only what they do for our basketball team but just being teammates. As a coach, I thank them for allowing me to be a part of their lives.”
The Wildcats will take on No. 5 South Webster in a March 3 district final at Ohio University’s Convocation Center. The Jeeps eliminated No. 1 Notre Dame 52-35 earlier in the day.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clay 6 9 11 9 — 35
Waterford — 8 8 27 11 — 49
Clay — C. Whitley 1-0-2, Castle 1-0-2, Gilliland 2-2-6, Curley 2-0-6, M. Whitley 2-0-4, Redding 6-3-15, Totals 14-5-35.
Waterford — Dailey 1-1-3, Hilverding 2-3-7, Paxton 4-2-10, B. Drayer 7-0-16, D. Drayer 1-3-6, Porter 3-1-7, Totals 18-10-49.
3-Point Goals — Clay 2 (Curley 2); Waterford 3 (B. Drayer 2, D. Drayer).
Records — Clay 15-8; Waterford 18-6.