ZANESVILLE - The West Holmes girls basketball team proved quickly why it is one of the best Division II squads in the state.
The Knights' defense smothered Indian Creek from the tip and they rode that defensive intensity to a 67-42 victory Thursday evening at Zanesville High School in the Division II district semifinal.
"The hope was to make the entry pass difficult for them," said West Holmes coach Lisa Patterson. "Everything should have been difficult for them, whether it was bringing the ball up the court or making the entry pass. If you can do that, it wears on them as time goes along."
SEASON OVER — Indian Creek freshman Bethany Davis receives a screen from junior Kristen Shimko and prepares to throw a bounce pass during the second quarter of Thursday’s 67-42 loss to No. 3-state ranked West Holmes in the Division II district semifinal at Zanesville High School. The Redskins finished the season at 18-7 after winning five games last season.
-- Mike Mathison
West Holmes led 18-7 after one, 35-19 at half and 53-32 after three.
"We just want to play solid the whole 32 minutes," said Patterson. "We don't want to have peaks and valleys.
"Our offensive output was solid all night. We've had some slow starts in the tournament, so that was a focus of ours."
That focus worked as the Knights came out and made everything difficult for the Redskins.
"They were relentless," said Indian Creel coach Erin DeSantis. "They are a really good, veteran basketball team and they made a lot of things hard for us tonight. Morgantown and Wheeling Central played tough defense on us, but not like tonight. They kept coming and coming. We had no breathing room. We didn't have one second to catch our breaths.
"They're quick. And, it's not like just one or two of them are quick. They are all quick. They ran the floor well. They are just a really good basketball team and they aren't where they are for no reason.
"And, nothing changed when they went to their bench. They became a shorter team, but they still played relentless defense and ran the floor. Their quickness didn't change.
"It's hard to simulate that quickness in practice."
It was an intriguing matchup from the start as Indian Creek's Bre Berryman and West Holmes' Laina Snyder, who were named Eastern District co-Players of the Year on Thursday, were on the same court.
"We've had a lot of time to practice for this game, so the game plan was to have two around her every time the ball went into her," Patterson said of Berryman.
"Sometimes, there might have been more."
Patterson had boys basketball players come in during practice to simulate Berryman's 6-foot-5 frame.
Berryman and Snyder played well. Snyder finished with 20 points and Berryman 17.
"She (Snyder) is a really good player," said DeSantis.
"We told the girls that there is no shame in losing tonight. We told the girls that we can't let this one game determine what we have done this season. We've come a long way.
"We needed our team to have this experience. There is nothing like experience. We have experienced what it takes to get here and now we commit ourselves to get back here and go even further next year."
Indian Creek is in a nice situation as everyone will return next season.
"Our girls have to understand that this is a process and this is one big step in that process," said DeSantis. "Did I think we would be here at the beginning of the season? Probably not.
"But, I am ecstatic that we got here. The girls proved they are a good team and hopefully they understand they can go further next year. They now understand how to play with each other.
"We're happy that we made it here, but we can't be satisfied."
Freshman Bethany Davis added nine points for Indian Creek, which finished 18-7, giving the program 12 more wins than a year ago.
West Holmes 67, Indian Creek 42
Indian Creek 7 12 13 10 - 42
West Holmes 18 17 18 14 - 67
INDIAN CREEK: Berryman 8 0-1 17, Davis 2 5-7 9, Mains 2 1-2 6, Durbin 2 0-1 4, Kamarec 1 1-2 3, Ruckman 1 0-0 2, Shimko 0 1-2 1, Callahan 0 0-0 0, Taylor 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16 8-15 42. 3-pointers: Berryman, Mains.
WEST HOLMES: Snyder 7 6-6 20, Wright 4 5-7 13, Vess 5 0-1 10, Morrison 4 0-0 9, Molnar 3 0-0 7, Brown 1 0-0 2, Abraham 1 0-0 2, Macaulay 1 0-0 2, Straits 1 0-0 2, Snow 0 0-0 0, Strother 0 0-0 0, Clark 0 0-0 0, Starr 0 0-0 0, Shriver 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 27 11-14 67. 3-pointers: Morrison, Molnar.