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Lady Irish Attain Goals
The post season spurt included five smileys and one grinder. Over a 9-0 season ending surge the bottom line read seven smileys and two grinders.
An 18 point win over Williamstown was link nine in the chain of success. Link eight came in a 20 point semifinal victory against Summers County. Link seven, the second grinder, occurred in an eight point success against defending champion Gilmer County. The victory over Gilmer was a saturated sweetness that applied some white out to the 2016 title game loss.
A trio of smileys prepped the Irish for their 11th consecutive state tournament appearance, and 10th consecutive title game participation.
Link six was a win over regional foe Ravenswood (33 points). Links five and four were sectional decisions over Tolsia (46), and Van (65). A Senior Day grinder against Wyoming East ignited the success streak. Road wins at Ashland, Ky., Blazer, and Russell, Ky. were links two and three in the chain, and concluded regular season play.
The season result bottom link made a prophet out of Shy. Quizzed about the 2016 title game loss Shy cut to the chase, “It won’t happen again.” By playing well, as head coach Shannon Lewis noted, it didn’t. The bottom line result also made a late season Class A poll rank (4) and a tournament seed (5) primary fodder for a shredding machine.
A look at individual contribution focuses light on the reasons for Irish success. The categories (and ranks):
Shy: Points scored (4); FG% (9); 3-pt % (10); FT% (11); PPG (10); FG made (2, tie); 3’s made (3); rebounds (2, tie); offensive rebounds (2, tie).
Jarrells: Points scored (2); FG% (12); 3-pt% (6); PPG (6); FG made (2, tie); 3’s made (2); FT made (4); assists (3).
Adkins: Assists and steals (1); points scored (7); FT% (2); FT made (2, tie).
Taylor: Points scored (8); FG% (3, tie); rebounds (2, tie); offensive rebounds (1).
Overlooked in those glares of success were the quality contributions of Alexis Hall. Hall ranked first in 3-pt %, four in assists, five in steals, seven in FG%, and nine in points scored.
The late season surge was a marked difference to early and mid-season play. The Irish opened 0-3, won seven, lost 4, and stumbled to a 9-9 record before the closing 9-0 run.
As Lewis explained, “the schedule was tough, and players were trying to do too much individually. We kept working on it. Once we went from ‘me’ to ‘we’ ball, we began to play the way I thought we could.”
With that said, the problem appears best seen in a rearview mirror. The sun shines through the future’s windshield. The nine game win streak fuels momentum leading into the 2017-18 season. Four starters have eligibility remaining. A premier prospect has said St. Joe is her high school of choice. The future glows positive for the program’s immediate and intermediate future.