SPRINGFIELD – West Liberty-Salem defeated Madeira, 47-38, in the Division III girls basketball district championship game on Saturday at Springfield High School.
It was WL-S’s first district title in 15 years.
Both teams made mistakes early, with West Liberty-Salem telegraphing several passes that ended up in Madeira hands and the Mustangs simply throwing the ball away in the half court.
“I thought in the first half, they just took us out of our offense so much,” WL-S Coach Dennis McIntosh said. “The whole game, I’m not sure we ever got into a real good flow offensively. Defensively, though, I thought we played really well.”
WL-S got some baskets early by breaking the Madeira full-court press. Lily Yoder got behind the defense a couple of times, hitting a transition jumper and taking the ball to the rack.
Yoder went off for West Liberty-Salem, scoring 8 points in the first quarter and finishing with a game-high 21 for the contest.
“That’s just the type of kid she is. She might miss three or four in a row, but that’s not going to affect her,” McIntosh said. “The next open shot she’s got, she’s going to take it. That’s just a shooter’s mentality.”
The Tigers led 14-11 after a quarter on the strength of Yoder’s outburst, then pushed the lead to 23-19 at halftime.
The defensive struggle continued into the second half, with WL-S tallying a 33-25 lead after three quarters.
“We didn’t give up very many offensive rebounds and give them second shots,” McIntosh said. “We just made the plays when we had to. Hopefully we’ll take this short break and get back at it on Monday.”
Jamie Peterson added 15 points down low for West Liberty-Salem.
“They really did a good job on Jamie inside. Lily was able to hit a couple of shots for us,” McIntosh said. “And we didn’t do a bad job on their three-point shooters. We only let them get loose a couple of times.”
The Tigers (23-3) advance to play Versailles (20-6) in a regional semifinal on Wednesday at 8 p.m., also at Springfield High School.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.