Two talented, disciplined teams

Game 16  JAN 17 MON 1:30 pm  Indian Hill Braves vs. West Holmes Lady Knights

By Dave Mast

That rumbling sound you hear may well be coming from the approaching clash of the Braves and Lady Knights, who will present a top-notch Div. II contest. These two teams have been building momentum over the past couple of seasons, and both have high hopes of making some noise all the way to the State tournament this year.

The Scott Rogers-coached Braves will bring Dr. Rogers’ intensity and discipline to the Reese Center. Led by dynamic point guard Nicole Bell, whom Tom Jenkins called, “Pound for pound the toughest player in the state,” Indian Hill has its sights set on extending its tournament run beyond last year’s loss in the Regional semifinal to Kettering Alter, which eventually made its way to State.

“At 5-3, Jenkins said of Bell, “She isn’t very big, but she is a ferocious competitor, a tough, affluent player who can at times will her team to a win just by effort.”

Seniors Katie Markesbery, who plays wing, and undersized but tough-as-nails post player Kelsey Matthews, who uses her strength to battle bigger players, along with junior wing player Natalie Newton, will present a challenge for Lisa  Patterson’s Lady Knights. She will also have to do battle with one of the state’s all-time greats in Rogers, who led Cincinnati Mt. Notre Dame to great heights before moving on to Indian Hill three seasons ago. Rogers was alongside Hiland coach Dave Schlabach at last year’s McDonalds All-American game as one of the coaches selected to coach the best high school girls players in America. Rogers’ team parlayed that discipline and drive into a sparkling 23-3 record last year, while Patterson’s Lady Knights were 18-6.

However, Patterson has been building a juggernaut over the past several years, grooming a young but extremely talented group of youthful and athletic players who are not accustomed to losing.

Providing the senior leadership for the Lady Knights will be 5-7 guard Paige Asche and 6-foot post player Lindsy Snyder, both 10-point-per-game scorers. Asche also nailed 44 three-pointers last season. Combining with the seniors are a trio of sophomores who proved to be huge assets last year. Included in the group are 5-6 Rachelle Morrison, who Patterson will rely on to run the floor as her starting point guard; 5-4 guard Justice Wright, a gamer who shows up every night and works extremely hard, and 5-10 post player Mallori Vess, who can run the floor and play inside or outside.

The youthful Knights will also boast a trio of freshman who have never lost a game. Laina Snyder, sister of Lindsy, is a six-footer with legitimate star power written all over her. Emily Molnar, a 5-6 guard, and Paiten Strother, who Patterson said can fill it up, will add excitement and depth to an already very good basketball team.

“We hope to put up better numbers on offense this season,” said Patterson. “We’ve got kids who can create their own shots. Defensively, we take pride in the way we play. Kids know if they want to play here, they have to play defense first.”

As for the team’s youth, Patterson is certain that her seniors will do the job, especially Lindsy Snyder. “She’s been around these three kids for a long time, and will help them learn the game at this level,” Patterson said.