North Shelby runs away from Meadville girls in sectional hoops duel of 1-2 punches
Lady Raiders’ duo combines for 60 as MHS Lady Eagles’ season ends with 73-44 shocker Wednesday
- Meadville girls concluded 2020-21 season at 23-4
MEADVILLE — The Meadville High School basketball Lady Eagles got what is believed to be a career-high 22 points from sophomore Mallory Dennis and 17 from probable All-State senior Kiera Holcer in their 2020-21 Class 1 state tournament opener at home Wednesday night, production MHS fans and head coach Drew Nier probably would have readily accepted with expectations of overall success, if promised beforehand.
Shockingly, that tandem output became an insignificant bit of trivia when the North Shelby Lady Raiders unleashed a more-prolific and devastating 1-2 shorter-range punch.
NSHS’ Caroline Linberger fired home 11 shots from the floor – only one of them beyond the arc – and sank eight of nine free throws for a 31-points night and teammate Ava Williams topped that with 12 buckets – all deuces, along with 5-of-6 foul-line accuracy, generating a whopping 60 points between them as North Shelby (18-5) ended the MHS girls’ season with a 73-44 blowout.
While Ki. Holcer did find the mark from long range four times in the game, Meadville, which depends so much on scoring three points at a time, hit on only one other trifecta – by Dennis in the third quarter. That left it vulnerable against the North Shelby team which was far more proficient at less than 19 feet.
Powering in a whopping 26 2-points baskets – a total not often seen in high school basketball any more in the age of the trey, North Shelby roared away from early on.
After falling behind 15-6 in the opening segment as Linberger scored 11 of the Lady Raiders’ points and the home team sank only one shot from the field, Dennis followed her six first-quarter tallies with eight more in the second and Ki. Holcer netted a couple of 3s, but the Shelbyville squad fired in 23 points to extend its lead to 38-22 by halftime.
The visitors boosted their margin to 22 points, 54-32, going to the fourth frame and continued their mastery there. NSHS outscored Meadville by between six and nine points in every quarter.
Statistically, not only did the Linberger-Williams duo outdistance MHS’ Dennis-Ki. Holcer pair 60-39 in the scoring column, but North Shelby’s other players also produced a 13-5 margin over the rest of the Lady Eagles (23-4).
While Meadville was a very good 10 of 14 at the free-throw line, North Shelby was even better, sinking 15 of 18.
With the Meadville girls' loss, all high school basketball teams covered by the C-T, including Chillicothe, have finished their 2020-21 seasons.
Both Meadville teams reached the 20-wins plateau, the only area squads to do so in the season abbreviated for some by COVID-19 issues.