By John Bombatch
JAMESTOWN — In typical first-game-of-the-season fashion, both Xenia and host Greeneview had plenty of jitters to deal with in Friday night’s girls high school basketball game. The host Rams seemed to have a little more experience and a tad less jitters, in a 54-34 win.
Returning starter Frankie Fife quietly scored a game-high 18 points, including a game-high four 3-pointers, for Greeneview.
“That’s kinda how Frankie plays,” Greeneview coach Tim Hoelle said. “Frankie plays her butt off without really looking like she’s playing hard. She’s our point guard and she makes everything go for us. She did a great job of finding open shooters when her drives weren’t open for scores. We’ll be looking for her to keep that up this season.”
Fife and fellow junior Faith Strickle were both Division III Southwest District honorable mention selections last season. Strickle and sophomore Kenzie Harding each finished with seven points, and freshman Sylvie Sonneman hit three 3-pointers as part of her 13-point performance.
Hoelle wasn’t so sure that his relatively young Rams showed much composure, especially in the second half when Xenia began finding its shots.
“I don’t know if the jitters were a surprise, but we’ve got a lot of young kids who are getting their first varsity minutes this season. The jitters definitely showed up tonight. Tons of turnovers, and we need to work on that,” Hoelle said. “I thought our girls played hard. … I’ll have to go watch the film, but I think our girls had more turnovers in the second half than they did in the first half.”
Playing without two recently injured guards and another player who was out for a family funeral, Xenia coach Kyle Gray had to switch up his lineup a bit at the start. It wasn’t until the second half that his Buccaneers seemed to get comfortable.
Sophomore forward Trinity Morton-Nooks scored 10 of her team-high 14 points in the second half, and senior Astella Welsh, a tossed in nine of her 10 points in the second half as well.
“We were left with some lineups we weren’t used to, today,” Gray said. “With little time to prepare, you could tell that we weren’t prepared because of that. I have some kids who know what to do in certain spots, but tonight they were playing in different spots. They’re talented enough that I can usually get them ready, but unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to do that entirely this time.”
Considering that Greeneview won 67-32 when the two teams last met in Xenia on Nov. 21, 2015, Xenia at least improved upon the deficit this time around. The Rams got a nice lift early on this time when they scored the game’s first 14 points and led 14-0 with less than two minutes to go in the opening quarter.
Xenia (0-1) doesn’t have much more time to adjust. They travel to Springfield Shawnee for a 7:30 p.m. game tonight. Greeneview (1-0) has a game Wednesday at Springfield Northwestern up next. They’ll then host Ohio Heritage Conference rival Cedarville at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 3.
“That’s always a good contest between two OHC rivals,” Hoelle said. “We better be ready for both of those games.”
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.