Northview and Clay City have had quite different girls' basketball seasons to this point of the year. The Eels come into the tonight's Clay County battle with a 3-12 mark this year and are coming off a game that they would rather forget, a 78-13 loss to Sullivan.
The Knights on the other hand are having a banner season with a 12-5 record overall and sit atop the Western Indiana Conference with a perfect 5-0 mark. However, they dropped a difficult contest in their last game, a 48-43 defeat to North Central (Farmersburg). That loss ended a school record eight game winning streak for the Knights.
The teams have split their past two meetings with Northview winning last year and the Eels taking the win two years ago.
Northview coach Bob Medworth believes that the rivalry of the game will negate the records of both teams. "[Clay City's] kids will be totally up for the game. Chris (Ross) is a good coach and they are good kids. You can forget the record thus far, Clay City will be ready to play."
In the North Central game, the Knights had difficulties all night controlling T-Bird senior Rebekah Forsythe inside. She tallied 27 points in the game, 17 from the free throw line. "We don't have to worry about Forsythe, but we cannot let Clay City start putting in three's. We need to play our game which we did not do last Friday," said Medworth. "Our offense was stagnant, the prescribed cuts were not being made or were being made too late and we did not crash the boards on either end. . ."
The Knights' 6'5 freshman center Julie Whitted who averages nearly double figure rebounds per game got into early foul trouble and wasn't much of a force in the game. But could fare better against a less experienced Eel inside game.
Clay City sophomore Bryleigh Schopmeyer leads the team in rebounding at 6.6 per game but stands just 5'7. The Eels don't have much size inside but tend to make up for that with strength in numbers with Sara Boone (5'6), Amber Long (5'3), Brittany Rood (5'6) and Jenna Koehler (5'4) all capable, scrappy rebounders.
The Eels are led in scoring by Whitney McWilliams at 11.7 per game and 20 3-pointers this season. Jenna Koehler also has double-figure scoring ability with Schopmeyer providing inside points along with Boone. Rood and Cameron Gerber have also proven to have scoring touch, but not always with consistency.
The Eels defensive strength is in their guards' ability to play disruptive defense on the perimeter.
McWilliams averages 3.4 steals a game and Long adds another 2.7 a game. Their matchup against Northview's Whitney Medworth and Amy Thiemann at the guard spots could go a long way in deciding the outcome of the game.
Medworth is second in the Wabash Valley area with 5.3 assists per contest and adds nearly 13 points a game. She also can drain the 3-pointer with 32 this season to go with Thiemann's 15. Their presence on the outside stretches many opposing defenses, allowing Whitted to operate inside.
Erica Koehler and Ashley Pierce also provide tenacity on both ends for the Knights and will likely provide matchup difficulties for the Eels.
Each team needs to find consistency on the offensive end to have success tonight. The Knights shot just 25 percent in their game versus North Central. The T-Birds 2-3 zone threw the Northview offense off-balance with Whitted being double-teamed inside while Medworth and Thiemann's shots were not falling from the outside.
The Eels will have to take Whitted out of the game early to have success. Her presence inside will force the Clay City guards to shoot from the outside more often so if the Eels' shots aren't falling they could be in trouble.
Regardless, this is still a heated county rivalry so all bets are off as the boys' game did to start the season. That hardfought 71-67 Knight win epitomized how hard these schools play when they hit the courts versus each other.
Tip-off of the junior varsity game is at 6 p.m. at Clay City High School.