Huge season for Marietta 7th grade girls

The Marietta Middle School seventh grade girls basketball team went 17-0 and won the East Central Ohio League this season. In the front row, from left to right, are Hailey Miller, Jacey McKnight, Alyssa Baker and Taylor Karcher. In the back row, from left to right, are assistant coach Ryan Lauer, Kayla Addison, Leigha Lauer, Irene Belin, Candace Addison and head coach Shawna McKnight.

You might look at the Marietta seventh grade girls basketball team’s 17-0 record and think they had a dominating season.

But then you’d see their average margin of victory was 35 points and all but one of their wins was by double digits and realize “dominating” is an understatement.

It was that kind of year for the Tiger seventh graders, led by head coach Shawna McKnight.

“These girls are amazing,” said McKnight, who has previously coached the Marietta High JV team. “I’ve coached these girls for a long time. Most of them have been playing together since third grade.”

Marietta defeated Dover 48-22 in the East Central Ohio League championship game to cap off a perfect season.

The roster features eight players — Irene Belin, Taylor Karcher, Hailey Miller, Alyssa Baker, Jacey McKnight, Candace Addison, Kayla Addison and Leigha Lauer. McKnight was assisted this season by Ryan Lauer. The team was balanced, and every player contributed in a major way at some point in the season.

“Any girl could lead the team in scoring any game,” McKnight said. “They’re not selfish at all. They play together. If you’re open, they’ll get you the ball. They put a lot of work in.

“I’ve never seen a team so well balanced. Everbody does their part and they do it well.”

Marietta liked played uptempo, using its defensive pressure to lead to easy baskets, but could also score in other ways.

“We like to get the ball out and run,” McKnight said. “We like to pressure and get the ball downcourt, but we could shoot from outside and score inside as well.”

The Tigers’ closest game of the year came on the road at Pleasants County. Marietta escaped with a five-point win. When PCMS came to Marietta later in the year, the Tigers turned it up a notch.

“We won by double digits,” McKnight said. “So many people we there supporting. The crowd did a blackout. It was a lot of fun. These girls are pretty good and they are fun to watch.”

McKnight wasn’t sure if she’ll get to coach the girls again next year when they are eighth graders, but whatever happens, she expects big things to happen.

“I’m very proud of them,” she said. “The last two years, they’ve lost one game. These girls are amazing.”

Jordan Holland can be reached at jholland@mariettatimes.com.