Vinton County Lady Vikings Get Revenge on Nelsonville-York

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The Vinton County Lady Vikings didn’t forget the heart breaking loss that the Lady Buckeyes handed them back on Dec. 8, an overtime thriller. They got their revenge on the Lady Buckeyes tonight, as they rolled to a 63-44 victory.

The Lady Buckeyes and Lady Vikings battled in what was one of the better games of this season, an emotional Nelsonville-York come-from-behind victory that sent the Lady Vikings home with a hard loss. The Lady Vikings made sure that the Lady Buckeyes wouldn’t steal another one, especially in their gym.

The Lady Vikings came out firing Thursday night, as Cassie Bentley was determined to re-write the script as she opened the game scoring nine of her 18 points in the first quarter, all nine points coming from the three-point arc.

The early scoring from the Lady Vikings’ star player got the crowd going and the team fed off of their crowd’s energy the entire night. The Lady Vikings defense gave the Lady Buckeyes point guard Jesse Addis and the rest of the team fits, as they struggled to find any open driving lanes to the tin or shots from the outside. The Lady Buckeyes’ offensive woes allowed the Lady Vikings to jump out to a commanding 22-9 lead.

When the Lady Buckeyes need a spark offensively, they usually call sixth-man Mary-Kate McCulloch’s number off the bench. However, she was unable to play in the rematch as she was out of action tonight with an illness.

Lady Buckeyes head coach Bob Cassady noted that not having one of his top scoring options hurt tonight, but that he needed other players to step up.

“We missed Mary-Kate tonight, but we can’t make excuses, we have to find other ways to score which we weren’t able to do,” Cassady said.

With McCulloch out of the lineup, more fell on the shoulders of Jesse Addis, the teams’ leading scorer. McCulloch’s absence allowed the Lady Vikings’ defense to key in even more on Addis, who was forced into taking tough shots and never found her rhythm in this game.

Addis scored 18 points, a team-high, but it took her 25 shots to get those 17 points. Coach Cassady talked about how the Lady Vikings style of defense hindered the Lady Buckeyes offense, especially Addis.

“(The Lady Vikings defense) just packed in and guarded three of our players. It made things difficult for Jesse because she was being double and even tripled team tonight,” Cassady said.  “We couldn’t capitalize on our shooters being left open and that’s why we struggled to score points.”

It was a brutal night for the Lady Buckeyes shooting the ball, as they shot below 30 percent from the field. Then all of a sudden, late in the third quarter the Lady Buckeyes went on a 9-0 run to narrow the large deficit to eight.

Bentley and the rest of the Lady Vikings began to have flashbacks back to December. They led the whole way against the Lady Buckeyes and blew a huge fourth quarter lead that led to their demise.

But this game was different. This team has grown a lot the past couple of months and Bentley had something she didn’t have in the team’s first tilt: the continuous support of a home crowd and a supporting cast.

Bentley was aided by a dominant performance inside by Sammy Thompson. The Lady Buckeyes had a hard time keeping her off the offensive glass which helped her score 13 points to complement Bentley’s team-leading 18 points.

However, it was the hot shooting of Darian Radabaugh who gave the Lady Vikings what they needed to fend off any sort of Lady Buckeye comeback. Early in the fourth quarter, Radabaugh hit three consecutive three-pointers, erupting the Vinton County fans and pushing the lead back up to 17.

From there the Lady Vikings would coast to victory. After the game it was the Lady Vikings screaming with outpours of emotion this time, as they were able to knock off their bitter rival. The Lady Vikings will look to get back to .500 as they take on Alexander Jan. 23.

For the Lady Buckeyes, they must regroup quickly as they hit the road again to take on Fairland Jan. 21.