By Josh Brown
SPRINGFIELD — As automatic as Ashley and Trina Current normally are in the paint, early on in Saturday’s district final they struggled to finish.
So they stepped outside instead.
Miami East’s twin 6-footers showed their range — much to Mariemont’s dismay — as Trina Current hit a first-quarter 3 and then Ashley sank back-to-back bombs in the second quarter, softening up the Warrior defense enough for them to dominate in their more traditional manner inside as the Vikings (24-1) won their third straight Division III district championship with a 71-36 victory Saturday at Springfield High School.
“Somebody asked me if that was part of the gameplan,” Miami East coach Preston Elifritz said of the Currents’ long-range prowess. “I told them that if we’re open, we’re shooting.
“The twins are mature enough to know situations. They’re talented enough to bang around inside, but if they’re left wide open, they can hit that, too.”
And with Mariemont’s 6-foot-4 Rebekah Justice also in the paint, it was a three-way war for the post. Once the Currents showed that they were a threat from anywhere, though, that war was over.
“We knew that she (Justice) would sag off inside and make the girls hit those jumpers,” Elifritz said. “This was one of the few times this year where someone actually outsized us. But the girls did a nice job of adjusting. They realized they were open and didn’t ball fake or anything. They just hit those in rhythm, and I think that softened up the defense a bit and got them better looks inside.”
But even with the relatively slow start offensively, the Miami East defense gave Mariemont nothing to work with on the other end. The Vikings forced 10 turnovers before halftime, and when the Warriors did get up shots, the Currents made sure they only got the one chance, combining to pull down 17 rebounds before the break.
“There’s something to be said for being 6-4. You’re going to get shots just because you’re taller,” Elifritz said of Justice. “But our defense maintained its composure. If you’re only shooting one shot per possession, you’re going to get frustrated pretty quick.”
Ashley Current had a double-double before halftime with 17 points and 11 rebounds and Trina Current had 14 points and six rebounds as the Vikings built a 37-16 lead going into the lockerroom. And they only got more dominant as the Currents began to take complete control inside, too, steadily pushing the lead out even more and never giving the Warriors a chance.
Ashley Current finished with a game-high 27 points and 14 rebounds, while Trina Current added 20 points and 13 rebounds — and Miami East outrebounded Mariemont 40-20 on the day. Emily Kindell added eight points and Angie Mack scored six points, while Samantha Skidmore dished out five assists — including setting up both of Ashley Current’s 3s.
Justice was the lone Warrior in double figures, finishing with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Elifritz also credited his bench players for the work they put in during the extended week of practice.
“One through 14, we told the girls we had to stay aggressive and force them to earn all their points,” Elifritz said. “We don’t have a priority seven or eight, all 14 of these girls are a priority. We don’t regularly have five days of practice before a game, and the girls that are more unspoken than the others all stepped up this week when no one was watching.”
The Vikings won’t have that much time to work before their regional semifinal game — but they’re familiar with the opponent already. Miami East will face rival Versailles — which routed Georgetown 63-20 in the other district final — at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday at Springfield High School.
Miami East — 71
Jessica Barlage 0-0-0, Angie Mack 2-1-6, Samantha Skidmore 0-0-0, Katelyn Gardella 1-0-2, Ellie Gearhart 2-0-4, Rene DeFord 2-0-4, Emily Kindell 1-5-8, Abby Hawkins 0-0-0, Ashley Current 10-5-27, Trina Current 6-7-20, Sage Hunley 0-0-0, Kati Runner 0-0-0. Totals: 24-18-71.
Mariemont — 36
Mariah Morrow 0-1-1, Carson Fields 0-0-0, Haley Jacobs 1-0-2, Hannah Krieger 0-2-2, Julia Whittelsy 2-2-7, Olivia Griffith 2-0-6, Emma Griffith 1-0-2, Meredith Garrison 2-0-4, Rebekah Justice 6-0-12. Totals: 14-5-36.
Score By Quarters
ME17 37 55 71
Mar7 16 27 36
3-point goals: Miami East — Mack, Kindell, A. Current 2, T. Current. Mariemont — Whittelsy, O. Griffith 2.
Records: Miami East 24-1.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 440-5251 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
story modified on Saturday 3/1/2014 at 4:03:43 pm by Joshua Brown