By William

HALSTEAD – Last Thursday, the Smoky Valley Middle School girls’ basketball teams went on the road to play Halstead and came home with two wins and one loss for the day.


In the ‘A’ game, the Junior Lady Vikings jumped out to huge 24-5 lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back on their way to a 33-point, 52-19 dismantling victory over host Halstead.

It was a tale of two halves for the Smoky Valley scoring as Keira Mullen was unstoppable in the first half by scoring 17 of her 19 game points while also handling the task of guarding Halstead’s top shooter, a task she handled well as she was held to zero second half points.

In the final two quarters, it was Adrian Hazelwood who dazzled the crowd for the Junior Lady Vikings as she dropped in 15 of her game high 26 points in the final sixteen minutes of play.

“Adrian (Hazelwood) was absolutely dazzling in the second half to help put the nail in the coffin for the game,” noted Junior Lady Viking Head Coach Jason Drouillard. “Her aggression and great skill set made her an absolute force on both sides of the ball.”

Coach Drouillard continued his post-game reflections by talking the play of the players, adding, “Maliyah (Koster) contributed by the way of very strong defense that included several steals while Tinley (Scott) also provided very stingy defense as she stepped into the passing lanes several times. Tinley also continued her streak of consecutive games with a made three-pointer, a streak that now stands at four games. Jordyn (Elseth), who is as consistent as they come, chipped in with four points and provided several key rebounds. Breanne (Peters) also joined the scoring party after grabbing an offensive rebound and putting it back in for a score.”

Finishing his reflections on the ‘A’ game, Coach Drouillard said, “The team’s commitment to the defensive side has made this team extremely tough to beat which is why our record is now 7-1 for the season. Coach Knopp and I are extremely proud of how hard these girls work, and the whole team is excited to see what we can achieve in the postseason tournament.”


Down 4-2 at the end of the first quarter, the Junior Lady Vikings got more comfortable and settled down into their offense to rally back and take a 9-8 lead going into the halftime break.

Using an extremely balanced scoring attack, the Junior Lady Vikings scored 15 points in the final two quarters while shutting out the Halstead offense to gain the 16-point, 24-8 victory.

Only four girls put points in the scorebook as Ciara Rawson led the team with eight points and Sophia Fruits chipped in with six.

“Sophia (Fruits) is extremely tough on defense and used her quick hands to grab several steals that led her to a couple of easy layups while helping get the offense going tonight,” said Coach Drouillard. “Ciara (Rawson) was completely dominate on the boards and used a great fourth quarter to grab six of her eight points. She has done a really nice job this season stepping up to rebound when one is really needed. Katja (Blanchat) had an impressive ‘score-and-one’ in the fourth quarter and then converted the free throw. She has been a great leader on the court this season and makes such a big impact without having to score.”

Coach Drouillard concluded his ‘B’ team reflections by adding, “The most impressive stat of the whole game is zero – the girls allowed zero points in the entire second half! Their focus was on our pack-line defense and staying in help side completely shut down all easy driving lanes to the goal.”

Assistant Coach Knopp also had a few words to say about the team’s performance, noting, “The girls played great team ball on Thursday. We were able to handle pressure, take care of the ball and did a nice job of rebounding. I was very proud of their effort. Reflecting on this season, these girls come every day ready to work and get better. It’s been so fun as coaches to see their confidence grow throughout the season and we as coaches couldn’t be prouder of their attitude and effort this season.”


A fast start by host Halstead put the Junior Lady Vikings ‘C’ team behind 8-5 at the end of the first quarter and then later suffered through a scoreless third quarter which found them behind 23-12 heading into the final quarter of play.

The Junior Lady Vikings did their best to make a shocking, come-from-behind story as they outscored Halstead 11-4 in the final quarter to finish four points short of a win.

Regarding the ‘C’ game, Coach Drouillard concluded his reflections on the day by saying, “Kelsee (Adam) continued her hot shooting streak as she hit two three-pointers in the first half. While the girls fought like crazy in the fourth to make one final push to take the lead, they simply ran out of time as the lead dwindled down. While it’s always tough to lose, we are extremely proud of the team’s will to never quit. They fought hard the whole game, and this whole season in fact. We are very hopeful to end the year on a high note on Thursday.”


The Junior Lady Vikings close out their 2019-20 season on Thursday, January 16 with a home matchup against Haven!        

JUNIOR LADY VIKINGS ‘A’ TEAM INDIVIDUAL SCORING (52 total points): Adrian Hazelwood – 26; Keira Mullen – 19; Jordyn Elseth – 4; Tinley Scott – 3; Breanne Peters – 2.

JUNIOR LADY VIKINGS ‘B’ TEAM INDIVIDUAL SCORING (24 total points): Ciara Rawson – 8; Sophia Fruits – 6; Katja Blanchat – 5; Rylie Tolle – 5.

JUNIOR LADY VIKINGS ‘C’ TEAM INDIVIDUAL SCORING (23 total points): Kelsee Adam – 8; Ashlyn Cornett – 4; Nevaeh Spitler – 4; Alyssa Holt – 3; Rylie Tolle – 2; Anna Unrein – 2.

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(Post is SPONSORED by CrossDove Writers)