GRANVILLE, Ohio -- On Saturday, Granville played host to Watkins Memorial in a key LCL matchup that had implications beyond league play. Both teams entered the game ranked in the AP poll, as the Blue Aces entered as third-ranked Division II team, and the Warriors as the ninth-ranked team in Division I. Offensive woes plagued both teams, but Granville avenged their only loss of the season with a 42-28 victory.
The first quarter was a defensive gem. Both teams combined for just two field goals over the first eight minutes of play, yielding a slim one-point Granville lead at 4-3.
Sophomore Ella Wigal provided a spark on offense for the Blue Aces in the second quarter, scoring six points and grabbing a handful of offensive rebounds. Watkins Memorial was able to find a bit of an offensive groove thanks to junior Alexia Gartner. Granville went into halftime with an 18-11 lead.
The Blue Aces opened the third quarter on a 6-2 run, extending their lead. With a little over two minutes left in the period, senior Ella Rogers drained the only three-pointer of the game on either side, giving Granville a 14 point lead, and topping off a 9-2 run. Watkins Memorial struggled offensively, especially from the free throw line, and scored just six points in the third.
The fourth quarter featured just one field goal but 25 combined points. Watkins Memorial was forced to foul and Granville converted. Rogers, junior Cate Schieber, and freshman Harper Annarino combined to hit 14-of-16 attempts, sealing the game for the Blue Aces.
Granville connected on just eight field goals for the game and Watkins Memorial made nine attempts. Rogers led Granville with ten points, followed by Wigal with nine, and Schieber with eight. Watkins Memorial was paced by Gartner with ten, and senior Malaina Vatter with nine. With the win, Granville now shares first place in the LCL with Watkins Memorial with just a couple of games left in the season.
Ella Rogers (5’9 G / Granville / 2021): Rogers has one of the best motors in the area. Her effort on the defensive end of the floor is unmatched, constantly applying ball pressure and wreaking havoc on opposing ball handlers. Saturday, she was not only a huge part of Granville’s defense, but also their offense, scoring a team high ten points. She was the calm in the foul shot storm in the fourth quarter for the Blue Aces. Rogers will be a very important piece of the puzzle in a potential Granville state tournament run.
Ella Wigal (5’11 G / Granville / 2023): Wigal was exceptional for Granville Saturday night. The sophomore has an unbelievable vertical, consistently impacting rebounding efforts on both ends of the floor. Her length continues to be an issue for opponents both handling and passing the ball. Her stock continues to rise and could be one of the best prospects in the 2023 class. With an athlete like Wigal, the Blue Aces are bound to make a deep tournament run.
Malaina Vatter (5’8 F / Watkins Memorial / 2021): Vatter was a consistent player all night Saturday for Watkins Memorial. She was a strong rebounder and connected on three of the team’s baskets. Despite being slightly undersized for a forward, she gave great effort and held her own on the offensive and defensive boards. Vatter is a great role player with a never give up mentality for the Warriors.
Alexia Gartner (5’9 G / Watkins Memorial / 2022): Gartner was a strong offensive threat for the Warriors Saturday. She did a great job attacking the basket and finishing through contact. When she was unable to finish, she fought for offensive boards, leading to extra possessions. Gartner has the potential to develop into a next level player with a little polishing of her shooting abilities.