Lady Knights sport six players averaging at least 7 points per game.
They have good size, good speed, good shooters, and good coaching. It is no secret why the Alter Knights are playing in the Regional Finals on Friday night at 7:30 against Kenton Ridge at Springfield High School.
The upstart Kenton Ridge Cougars (26-1) also have all of the above, save for the good size part. They have never been this far into the state basketball tournament. Kenton Ridge gets to play this game in a gymnasium just minutes from their high school giving them a significant home-court advantage. Both team’s colors are Brown and Gold. It all sets the scene for an intriguing match-up, which will most certainly be played in front of a capacity crowd.
During the regular season, the scoring margin for second-ranked Alter was 36 points per game. Only one time did another team get within single digits of them. It was an eight point victory over Springboro. Those numbers are indeed impressive, but it has been the post season where the Knights have jousted the competition even more with a 39.4 points per game scoring margin. They have done it all with balanced scoring.
The Knights have six players scoring between 15.1 and 7.2 points per game. and many players contributing on the stat sheet in a number of ways. They can comfortably go ten deep. Emma Bockrath leads the way with that 15.1 ppg, dishes out three assists per game, nearly three steals a game, shoots 48% from the field and 78.8 from the foul line. She is followed in double digits by Maddie Bazelak scoring 10.7 per game, and hauls in 5.7 rebounds per game.
Also, freshman sensation Braxtin Miller scores at a 9.7 per game clip and leads the team with 3.5 steals per game. Hayley Combs (8.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg), Kara Bochrath (7.4 ppg. 3.8 rpg, 1.8 spg, 48% 3 pt), and Libby Bazelak (7.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.2 apg, 3.1 spg, and 78.7 FT %) are also key contributors. As a team, the Knights average over 17 steals per contest.
Seventh-ranked Kenton Ridge, relies on predominantly six players and they are all under 5’10”. The undersized Cougars have to step it up on the boards. The five starters average 9.7 points per game or more. Leading the way is Sydney Bates at 16.3 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game. She is also shooting 46 % from the field and 76 % from the free throw line.
Baylee Bennett is averaging 12.9 ppg, 4.3 apg, shoots over 81 % from the charity stripe, and leads the team with 49 treys.
The catalyst is Stefanie Davis, scoring 11.1 ppg, hauling in 6.2 rpg, dishing out 6 apg, swiping 3.5 spg, and shooting over 50% from the field. Sara Thornton, who scores at a 10.3 ppg pace, leads the team in rebounding with 7.9 a game, and recorded 2.9 steals per contest.
Freshman post, Jamari McDavid, averages 9.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg, and shoots 57.1% from the field, most of those from very close range. McDavid has been nursing a sore ankle.
Kenton Ridge has had a different leading scorer in each of the past three tournament games, and in the past four tourney games, they have had exactly four players score in double figures. A five point loss to Division I Westerville South is the only blemish on their record and two tight games with Tippecanoe were the only other times they were in real danger of losing in the regular season.
Alter has been to the state Final Four recently when they went to three straight from 2008-2010, with winning the title in ’08 and runner-up in 2010. This Regional Final determines who gets to play next Thursday afternoon at 1:00 pm at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University.
This match-up features the most combined victories (according to the updated OHSAA statistics) than any other game in the Regional Finals in any division with 53 victories between them.