HANOVERTON OH- Schools districts are usually direct reflections of the communities they encompass. When it comes to the love and passion those communities put on display for their school, United Local may not only be one of the best in our area but one could argue the best in the state of Ohio. Those qualities were on full display Thursday night as United harnessed all that energy and defeated Southern Local 57-32 in front of a very energized crowd.
Entering Thursday night United held a two game lead on Southern in the EOAC title race and the Eagles wasted no time proving who belonged on top. Behind a motivated defense United bullied the Indians into multiple turnovers racing out to a 19-4 first quarter lead. Down big to start the second quarter Southern took advantage of United foul trouble and cut the lead to 22-11. Not to be deterred the Eagles showed their offensive capabilities and finished the quarter on a 11-2 run extending the lead to 33-13 at the half.
The talented offense of United led by Grace Knight slammed the door shut on any second half comebacks Southern may have had in mind. Knight, just a sophomore, is becoming one of the Eagles go to players turning in a 16 point /10 rebound performance in victory.
Coach Josh Sigler has noticed the increased output “Grace Knight is slowly becoming very good all-around player. She makes us a dangerous team moving forward.” Knight along with teammate Addyson Blazer combined for 17 rebounds on the night. The offensive output of this Eagles squad doesn’t end with just one player. Grayson Kidder came off the bench and added a 15 points of her own.
“Grayson is very much in the conversation of making us a really good team. We have different players every night stepping up in the scoring column. This team does not care who scores, they just want to score.” YSN Big Dog of the Valley nominee Madison Kibler helped guide the offense to victory with 8 points, 5 steals and team high 9 assists. Ashley Shroades turned in a solid 15 point performance in the loss for the Indians.
Following the win Coach Sigler knows he has a tough opponent next up on the schedule “We have no time to celebrate, Poland comes to town on Saturday. They are a very good well coached Division 2 basketball team. We have to be on our “A” game and have to show the fight and will to compete. We are definitely getting better and that’s what you want to see this time of year.”
Thursday night was made extra special due to the “Random act of Kindness” The Kim & Ashley Bergman Memorial Fund provided free admission to the students from both schools. Those students took full advantage and provided a great atmosphere for the game. “ The crowd and atmosphere was unreal. Cannot say enough about our student section, these girls absolutely love the energy they bring. We have one heck of a community when it comes to supporting our student athletes.”
Prior to the game that support was on full display along the sidelines as the United coaching staff honored Ashley Bergman with her own spot on the bench placing the number 23 jersey over one of the chairs. “This game was for Bergs.” The win set the stage for Saturday as United (10-3, 9-0) vs Poland (12-1) is slated for 11am in Hanoverton.
*Contributed By YSN’s Chris Sigler