Westview clinched at least a share of second place in the NECC girls basketball standings Saturday night with a 53-23 trampling of Eastside in Butler.
Coach Randy Yoder’s club improved to 8-1 in league play with the easy win. They can sew up sole runner-up honors this Friday with a victory at West Noble and still have an outside chance of tying for the conference crown should unbeaten Angola (9-0) fall the same night against Fremont.
The thumping of Eastside also provided the young Lady Warriors a chance to get back on track after turning in a lackluster effort only 48 hours earlier against Bethany Christian, which resulted in a 42-37 loss to the Lady Bruins.
“You can tell kids that a team like Bethany, one you should beat, is better than they think, but sometimes it doesn’t register,” said Yoder. “We have some kids who are still 14 years old and making that transition from middle school to varsity.
“Tonight, though, I thought we were much more intense defensively and took the ball to the basket much more aggressively,” said Yoder of his team’s rebound effort against Eastside. “Against Bethany, we only took four free throws, whereas tonight we got to the line 24 times (making 16). That was good to see.”
Westview never trailed the Lady Blazers, as it scored the game’s first seven points and led 13-2 after one period. Olivia Miller, whose defense and rebounding helped spark Westview’s fast start, hit a basket late in the second quarter to give the visitors a 26-10 halftime cushion.
“Olivia does the little things that don’t get noticed much in the press,” said Yoder of Miller, his lone senior. “She’s played hard all year.”
Eastside kept within shouting distance of the Lady Warriors in the third period, closing the gap to 14 (33-19) on a bucket by Maddy Minehart. But six straight points to close the stanza, along with a three-pointer by Amber Roth at the start of the fourth, quickly boosted Westview to a 42-19 advantage.
Nine different Lady Warriors got into the scoring act, led by Brooke Yoder, Grace Hales and Maria McCoy all with nine points. Miller finished with seven, Roth had six and Sidney Byrkett came off the bench to net six.
McCoy, who battled illness throughout the week, also grabbed 11 rebounds in the contest. Miller snatched eight caroms and Roth made four steals.
Minehart topped Eastside with seven points.
Scoring by quarters
WV 13 13 13 14 -53
ES 2 8 9 4 -23
Sidney Byrkett 2, 2-2, 6; Steph Mowery 0, 0-0, 0; Amber Roth 2, 1-2, 6; Brooke Yoder 3, 3-4, 9; Olivia Miller 2, 3-4, 7; Grace Hales 3, 1-4, 9; Riley Hochstetler 1, 0-0, 2; Kristen Duff 2, 0-0, 4; Kaitlyn Warren 0, 0-0, 0; Maria McCoy 2, 5-6, 9; Hannah Witham 0, 1-2, 1; Totals 17, 16-24, 53
Three-point field goals 3 (Hales 2, Roth 1)
Vanessa Deck 1, 0-0, 2; Brianna Moore 2, 0-0, 4; Leah Ward 1, 0-2, 2; Kaci Shook 0, 0-0, 0; Leticia Torres 0, 0-0, 0; Lindsey Jones 3, 0-0, 6; Bre Crager 1, 0-0, 2; Ashton Miller 0, 0-0, 0; Maddy Minehart 3, 1-2, 7; Totals 11, 1-4, 23
Three-point field goals 0