Erica Dawson is very capable of torching the nets for 30-plus points.
And, there's no question that the Marietta High senior standout will be the primary focus of Washington Court House Miami Trace's defense when the two schools tip off in an Ohio Division II girls' district semi at Southeastern High at 6:15 p.m. tonight.
The winner advances to the district final at the Ohio University Convocation Center at 6:15 p.m. Feb. 26.
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Marietta High’s Taylor Smith (10) dribbles as Warren’s Josey Riffle, left, defends during sectional final action at Meigs on Valentine’s Day. MHS won and will play Miami Trace in a district semi at Southeastern tonight.
"Miami Trace is a very good team," MHS head coach Scott Cozzens. "They were co-champs in their league and are the No. 1 seed from the Zane Trace Sectional.
"There have not been very many games where we are the underdog going in but this is one of them. Trace likes to run the floor and will pressure you all over the court."
Thing is, while the 5-foot-9 Dawson, who is Xavier University-bound after graduation in the spring, is the Lady Tigers' principal weapon on offense, she's not the only one.
Scott Cozzens-coached MHS (14-9) had balanced scoring in its 52-47 triumph over arch-rival Warren (13-9) in a sectional final at Meigs on Valentine's Day. Dawson led the way with 17 points, and had help from Taylor Smith, who netted 10. Starr Johnson chipped in with six, and Lexi Walsh and Kristen Hill each had five.
The Lady Tigers also have other players like Kaitlyn Cozzens, Luisa Barton, Haley Bonar and Lain Weppler, who can put points on the board as well.
Marietta's probable starters will be Kaitlyn Cozzens, Dawson, Barton, Bonar, and Walsh.
So, Miami Trace will have to be careful when it double teams Dawson, because an open Lady Tiger means a good look at the basket.
The Ben Ackley-coached Lady Panthers are the top seed with an 18-4 record. They were also No. 1 last year under James Stutzman, and got beat by Warren, 49-39.
Miami Trace is coming off a 66-40 rout of Hillsboro, a school it defeated three times this winter, in last Saturday's sectional tilt at Zane Trace. The Lady Panthers were balanced scoring and paced by Deidre McKay's 15 points. Abby Schwenk added 13, and Josie Cobb had 12.
"Miami Trace will tend to speed you up and get you out of what you are trying to do," Scott Cozzens said. "We will have to take care of the basketball and make sure we have good floor balance. We must control the rebounding and not be in a hurry on offense."
Fort Frye vs.
Also on tap at 7 p.m. tonight at Cambridge High, Fort Frye, No. 11-ranked in Division III with a 20-3 overal record, will be pitted against Martins Ferry in a sectional final.
The Dan Liedtke-coached Lady Cadets defeated Bellaire, 75-22, last Saturday, and were led by Taylor Buchanan and Deidra Combs, who scored 19 and 15 points, respectively.
Fort's other starters are expected to be Morgan Liedtke, Brooke Borich, and Micayla Hupp.
Martins Ferry got to the championship game with a 45-28 win against Steubenville Catholic Central. Jess Kinney paced the winners with 17 points and six rebounds. Meagan Rose added eight markers, and Tyrah King collect nine caroms. Shaina Oberdick chipped in with seven boards, and Morgan Stalder grabbed four stray shots, dished out two assists, and had two steals.
The Cadets-Riders winner will advance to district play at Steubenville at 6 p.m. Feb. 28.