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The Canton South Lady Wildcats inched closer to that .500 mark this past week when they hosted both Akron North and Marlington to Red Ash gymnasium.
In the 2013 opener, the Cats ran out to a 39-7 halftime lead and never looked back as South trounced Akron North by the final score of 67-23.
"This win was a true team effort," said head coach Jamey McKenzie II. "We dominated every aspect of the game and we had strong bench play," he added.
The Cats did not let up in half two as they once again outscored Akron North by the count of 28-16 to extend their lead and put the game away for good.
"I can not say enough about our play all around," commented McKenzie.
It was a balanced scoring effort by the Cats as 12 players saw the stat sheet. Leading the way for the Wildcats was Kayla Thompson, who poured in a team high 10 points for Canton South. Also contributing to the scoring were Tammy Westmoreland and Livi Forshey with eight, Katie Uminski with seven, Hunter Harris and Joelle Martin each with six, Megan Harris with five and Ann Marie Trissel, Morgan Jeter and Vanni Forshey each accounting for four points.
The story of the game was the domination on the glass by the Wildcats. The rebounding margin was in favor of the Cats by the count of 45-13. Uminski and Westmoreland each tallied eight rebounds to lead the Cats.
"Our bench scored over half of our total points (36) led by a strong performance from K. Thompson who got it started by hitting back to back three pointers," coach McKenzie said about his team. "Westmoreland was a strong presence inside on both ends of the floor as well."
To end the week, the Cats returned to NBC play when they hosted the struggling Marlington Dukes. South once again got out to a fast start and never looked back, thrashing the Dukes by the final of 49-31.
"Our defense is one of the best in the league," said McKenzie on his team's tenacious defense. "Our girls did not lay down though having an impressive lead. Our intensity was the same both halves."
It was 11-0 when the first buzzer sounded to notify the end of quarter number one and 28-5 after one half of play. The Cats cruised in the second half to secure the victory and move one win away from .500 on the season and in the NBC.
"Our game plan on defense was to allow limited touches for Marlington's Ali Rodgers, who is currently leading them in scoring. We also wanted to take away the perimeter shot from McKenzie Bitzel who is a strong shooting presence. Our defense did both. We held Rodgers to a season low two points and kept Bitzel to five points on hitting just two perimeter shots," said McKenzie on his teams effort.
Leading the way for the Cats was H. Harris, who poured in a game high 16 points for Canton South. Also chipping in was Uminksi with eight, Jeter with five and a trio of Wildcats with four (Trissel, Martin and Westmoreland). Kayla Thompson and M. Harris each accounted for three points while V. Forshey added two.
"I am very proud of how we performed this week," commented McKenzie as he looked back on the week that was. "I loved our aggressive play for all four quarters and diving on the floor after loose balls. I am intense as a coach and I want our team to be intense as players and we showed that this week," he added.
The girls run their overall record to 5-6 overall and 2-3 in the NBC. They looked to get to .500 on Jan. 9 when they traveled to always tough Louisville High School to take on the Leopards. The girls will then return home on Saturday, Jan. 12, when they look to avenge an early season defeat to the West Branch Warriors. Tip-off for the West Branch contest is set for 1:30 p.m.