Mississinawa Valley Lady Blackhawks are District Champions

Mississinawa Valley girls make history winning first ever District Title in School History. (Dale Barger photo)

TROY – The Mississinawa Valley Lady Blackhawks continue to make history by defeating Legacy Christian 51-46 and capturing the school’s first-ever Girls District Championship in the OHSAA DIV Southwest District.

“This is huge. I mean, our girl’s program has never won districts before. So that’s history for us and I couldn’t be happier for them,” Hawks coach Michael Paige stated after the game.

The Blackhawks would get off to a slow start with Legacy Christian jumping out to an 8-2 lead by the 3:30 mark of the 1st quarter.

MV began chipping away at the lead on back-to-back Taylee Woodbury scores and then a bucket and the harm by MacKenzea Townsend to go in front 9-8 at 1:30.

Taylee Woodbury scored a couple of tough buckets in the 1st quarter to get MV going, she had 15 for the game. (Dale Barger photo)

The Knights however got a triple from Allison Allport to end the first period up 11-9.

It was a back and forth affair in the 2nd but by now the defense of Mississinawa Valley was doing a nice job of contesting shots they gave up in the 1st not allowing a single point from the field.  However, Legacy was successful in getting to the free throw line going 7-for-8 in the frame.

The Hawks got a triple from Page Emrick and 3 fielders, one each from Woodbury, Townsend and Brenna Price to tie the game at 18 at the break.

Brenna Price gets bucket in the 2nd quarter. (Dale Barger photo)

Mississinawa had the size advantage inside with Townsend, Price and Brooklyn Seubert and they would use that to start the 2nd half pounding the ball inside with Townsend pulling off the hat trick on 3 straight scores to give the Hawks their biggest lead of the night and putting them in control at 5:32 in the 3rd quarter.

MacKenzea Townsend absorbs the contact and finishes through for a game high 17 points for the Blackhawks in win over Legacy Christian. (Dale Barger photo)

The inside game then opened up the perimeter and Syenna Purdin promptly drawing a triple to go up 27-18 with Legacy Christian needing a timeout.

Mississinawa pushed the lead to 31-22 on two fielders from Woodbury … but as all good teams do the Knights fought back closing the gap to 31-27 at 1:22.

Seyenna Purdin hit a big triple after the Hawks established an inside presence. (Dale Barger photo)

Paige Emerick stopped the run with a triple from the top of the key to give the Hawks some breathing room leading 34-29 heading into the final stanza.

Legacy closed the gap to 34-31 to start but Woodbury had a quick answer with a triple and two free throws from Price pushed the lead back out to 39-31 at 6:24.

Page Emerick helped the cause for the Hawks with her own 3-pointer. (Dale Barger photo)

The Knights weren’t going away getting a quick score, but MV was able to counter on a rebound put back from Townsend for a 41-34 lead, but Legacy pushed the ball answering with a triple and at 5:32 cut the margin back to 41-37.

Townsend canned two free throws and Brooklyn Seubert hit a short jumper for a 45-37 lead.

But the Knights wouldn’t go away, after only making two triples in 3 quarters, they connected on 5 in the final frame.  But every time they made a big play the Hawks had an answer.

Brooklynn Seubert post presence was a key for the Hawks to establish inside game. (Dale Barger photo)

Mississinawa went 8-for-12 from the charity stripe in the 4th to fend off the Knights attempt to rally and held on for the 51-46 win to continue their magical season.

For the game, it was Townsend leading MV with 17 points, Woodbury 15, Price 7, Emrick 6, Purdin and Seubert each had 3 points in the win.

The Hawks continue to roll after getting over their mental hurdle with the big win on Wednesday vs Tri-Village. Coach Paige felt like his team was still feeling some of the effects of that game

“They were still a little bit worn out from Wednesday. But we played hard, Legacy is a good team they were 21-3 and played a lot of good teams. We knew it was going to be a tough game for us after getting past that mental hurdle … but we wanted to keep this thing going,” Paige stated.

Much like in their previous game, Mississinawa focused on playing hardnosed defense with a low-scoring game going into the half.

Senior Ingrid Ojeda defensively was able to disrupt and force turnovers for the Hawks. (Dale Barger photo)

“Defensively in the first half, I think we played well, they missed a lot of shots, and we gave them a lot of open shots that I didn’t really like. But we started doing a better job of challenging their shooters and slowed them down.  We’re focused on defense in the tournament because we know that we’re a team who can score,” Paige explained.

Mississinawa then came out after the half and was determined to exploit their size and try to get the lead and control of the game knowing their defense would be there.

“We knew we had a little bit of a size advantage and we wanted to go down to Kinzie in the third quarter to establish her and once she was established we kind of took the momentum and a little bit of control in the game.”

The MV Student section tries to break the concentration of a Legacy shooter.  Their support in the Hawks tournament run has been unwavering. (Dale Barger photo)

“Everybody knows we shoot a lot of threes, but our shots are not always going to fall. So, in those moments it’s where we need Kinzie and Brenna our two seniors and then Brooklyn coming off the bench to step up and give us a post presence down low. And they were able to do that today,” Paige exclaimed.

“In big moments, you got to lean on your upperclassmen, you got to lean on your seniors, and they stepped up today,” Paige praised.

Senior MacKenzea Townsend shared her feelings after the game.

“It feels so amazing. So unreal. We walked in here today and we were like, pumped up. You have to stay pumped up. We have to be more pumped after the big game with Tri-Village and then we have this game. It was just amazing to feel and the fact that we all work together so well, we started off behind, battled back and came out on top, it’s just so amazing,” Townsend said.

There was Joy and plenty of Happy tears as MV celebrates the win. (Dale Barger photo)

Senior Brenna Price echoed her teammate on the win.

“This feels amazing. I want to thank God I want to thank my family, my friends, teammates,  coaches, student section and community support, it just feels amazing being the first team in school history to win a District Title,” Price commented.

Price also praised her teammate Kinzie on her game in the post.

“She definitely is never giving up she is really good at boxing out and crashing the boards and then finishing inside,” Price commented.

One of the fun things about watching this Mississinawa Valley team is that they continue to keep coming at you.  They never get down, never yell at one another or sulk about making a mistake they just keep playing and Kinzie had this to say about that mentality.

“We follow the high five rule, you mess up, you get a high five, you make a good play, you get a high five, everything starts with a high five, high five gets you going. So, we always give high fives we always hyping each other up.  Get it back next time, you’re good, just relax and keep playing,”

And that’s just what the 21-5 Blackhawks are going to do, keep playing as they advance to the Regional Semi-Finals where they will take on 19-7 Marion Local who defeated Minster 52-50.

That game will be played at Vandalia-Butler High School on Thursday, March 7th at 6pm.

Coach Michael Paige gets to bring home the net for the Schools District Championship. (Dale Barger photo)