Axmear Leads English Valleys Girls Past Keota

English Valleys’ Kennedy Axmear scoring two of her 00 total points on the night. Photos by Sean Strohmayer
Sean Strohmayer
The News-Review

KEOTA—The Keota Eagles girls basketball team hosted the English Valleys Bears for a South Iowa Cedar league matchup. The Bears snuck past the Eagles by a final score of 39-33.

It was a hard fought defensive battle all night. After a quarter of play, the Eagles found themselves with a 9-6 lead. 

The second quarter began with the Bears turning their heavy press into transition offense. Keota’s Macie McDonald responded to stout defense by smacking a three pointer to push the Keota lead to four at 12-8. The Bears finished the first half on a 7-4 to cut the Eagles lead down to one at 16-15. 

In the third quarter, English Valleys junior Kennedy Axmear took over. She scored nine of the Bears 12 points in the third quarter. The Bears out-scored the Eagles 12-11 in the third quarter to tie the ballgame at 27 heading into the fourth quarter. 

To start the fourth, Keota’s Dakota Dodd gave the Eagles a two point lead with a tough contested shot in the lane. English Valleys’ Kennedy Axmear then responded by scoring six straight points in the paint to give the Bears a 33-29 lead in the fourth quarter. The next possession Keota’s Nicole Clarahan hit one of her two free throws to cut the Bear’s lead down to three with four minutes left in the game. English Valleys’s Addy Westfall then completed an and one for the Bears the next possession to push the Bear lead back to six. Keota needed a three pointer on this possession to keep their hopes alive, and senior Macie McDonald answered the call. The Eagles just needed a defensive stop. The Eagles played sound defense that forced the Bears to shoot a three pointer as time was running low on the shot clock. Heroically, Kennedy Axmear went up, and grabbed the defensive rebound. The Eagles were forced to foul junior Ada Mews. Mews, with ice coursing through her veins, made the first free throw of the one and one to seal the game. The Bears secured the thrilling 39-33 victory over the Bears.

Keota sophomore Kimberly Clarahan finished the night with a double double that consisted of 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Bears were led by junior Kennedy Axmear, who finished the night with 25 points, eight rebounds, one steal and one block. Senior Addy Westfall was the main facilitator for the Bears with six assists.

Keota head coach Jeff Sprouse after the game noted that his team played extremely hard for all four quarters of the game. “Defensively, I thought we played very well,” noted Coach Sprouse. He saw his team get into foul trouble, but not panic about it. He emphasized that they showed poise all game long. 

English Valleys head coach Jeff Miller emphasized that he was happy to get out of the Keota gym with a win. He saw that his team was not quite executing to the level he hoped in the first half. He saw improvements in the second half, which was a positive night. Coach Miller went on to describe that he was pleased to see Kennedy Axmear have a big night, as he wanted to take advantage of her size against a smaller lineup in Keota. Coach Miller went on to highlight the second half passing from his team with, “They were doing what they needed to get the passes off. They recognized that they needed to take an extra dribble to find the angle.”

The Eagles fall to 4-10 on the season, with a conference record of 4-6. They will return to action on January 13, when they visit the Colfax-Mingo Tigerhawks. 

The Bears advance to 9-4 on the season, with a conference record of 5-3. They will return to action on January 13, when they visit the Lynnville-Sully Hawks.




The News-Review

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