WEST UNION – The Eastern Brown girls’ basketball team entered the season as winners of 17 straight Southern Hills Athletic Conference contests.
On Thursday, they made it 18.
After a slow start to the game, the Lady Warriors knocked down nine first half 3-pointers to pull ahead and eventually beat West Union, 71-22.
“I don’t think that’s a focus on the kids or myself. We want to keep winning every game. We take one game at a time. We’ve got a non-league game Saturday then we go up to Peebles, which has gotten better and they can shoot it as well. We’ll take one game at a time. We want 20, 30, whatever they want to get to, we’ll take,” said Eastern coach Kevin Pickerill. “I always say league games are harder than non-league games because they know what you do. It doesn’t change year to year. You’ve got to execute better in league games and I thought we did that in a stretch from midway through the first and the all second, our focus and our chemistry was good.”
West Union was able to get on the board first with a Sianna Mills layup, before a Whitney Broughton putback evened the score for the next few minutes. Unable to break the tie, Pickerill called a timeout with 5:42 remaining in the frame.
“We came out tough in the first three minutes, then they hit a couple of big shots on us and I think it just took the wind right out of us tonight,” said West Union coach J.R. Kirker.
“We were guarding, we were containing, we were fronting the post,” added Kirker. “We were doing the things we worked on the last couple of days in practice to get ready for it, but I felt like we played with intensity, kept up intensity and worked off our defense.”
Over a minute later, Camryn Pickerill stepped into a 3-pointer, banked it in and got the Lady Warriors going. Broughton knocked down two triples before Pickerill knocked down two more, Alexa Pennington knocked down one and Morgan Reynolds got a steal and transition layup in a 22-0 run for the 20-point lead heading into the second quarter.
“It’s funny, we joke about the radio putting on the scores and what you’re predicted to win by. The pressure was on – we were predicted to win by 38 tonight and I said, ‘Girls, use that as motivation. Tell them we can win by 50.’ I’m not trying to run the score up on West Union, but I want them to have focus and I want that motivation. I thought they felt a little pressure maybe from that,” said Kevin Pickerill.
“If we sit down and play and guard people, we’re going to give teams fits just from our size and if we can hit shots like we did there for a stretch – I know Camryn and Whitney and Alexa hit some threes there in the first half,” added Pickerill. “If we can shoot like that, we’re going to put a lot of pressure on teams.”
The shots kept falling from there, as Broughton made two more 3-pointers and Pennington added her second of the game as the Lady Warriors took a 41-9 lead into the half.
West Union battled back in the third quarter, holding Eastern to just seven points while scoring six of their own, highlighted by a McKenzie Kirker 3-pointer.
The Lady Warriors kicked it up a notch in the fourth quarter, with seven different players combining to score 23 points to cap off the 71-22 win.
Broughton finished with a game-high 21 points, while Pennington had 14, Reynolds and Pickerill had eight each and Mikayla Farris had eight. Eastern moves to 1-1 with the win. They host Waynesville on Saturday.
Mills, Kaley Daniels and Jaycee Baldwin all had five points for the Lady Dragons, who fall to 0-2 with the loss. The Lady Dragons return to action on Saturday when they host Felicity-Franklin.