NEWARK, Ohio -- Newark proved why they are nationally ranked, as they defeated the Watkins Memorial Warriors 72-38.
Friday night's win notches the Wildcats their seventh-straight district title. After getting their season cut short last year in the state final four due to COVID-19, they seem to be on pace to get back there with another dominant win.
Junior sharpshooter Maddie Vejsicky put on a show for the Wildcats. With the state record being 14 three pointers in a game, Vejsicky got about as close as you can get. She finished the game with a season high 36 points on 10 triples, setting a program record.
At the start of this district finals clash, Watkins Memorial was able to battle with the Wildcats. The Warriors came out of the gate with a bit of a chip on their shoulders, bringing a lot of energy. That was until the Vejsicky show began! She was Newark’s only source of scoring early on, finishing the first quarter with all 14 of their points on four triples. Newark finished the first frame leading 14-8.
Newark had an offensive explosion to start the second period, as they had the rest of the team chipping in. The Wildcats began the second quarter on a 11-0 run, led by triples from senior Emma Shumate, junior Gwen Stare, and Vejsicky. Winning the quarter by 13 helped the Wildcats extend their lead to 41-22 entering halftime.
The young Warriors threw everything they could at the Wildcats in the third quarter, but the early lead was too much to overcome. As they extended their pressure, Newark showed no panic and found easy baskets in transition. When Newark is shooting the ball as a team with this kind of efficiency, they are a tough matchup.
Vejsicky’s 10 made three pointers and Newark’s 17 made three’s as a team will both make the list of the top shooting performances in the state record books.
Newark showed they are deep and talented. Every great team needs a great point guard, Stare was that player for the Wildcats. Her relentless dribble penetration broke down the Warriors defense and set her teammates up for great looks at the basket. She finished the game with 11 points and a game high six assists.
Coming off an outstanding regular season, Watkins Memorial will look to reload next season as many key players return.Junior Jenna Lucas led the way with a team high nine points, while sophomore Cameryn Wheeler added eight points.
No. 1 Newark advances to the regional semifinals to take on the winner of No. 5 Bishop Watterson and No. 7 Pickerington Central next Wednesday at Ohio Dominican.