Girls Basketball: Kierstyn Liming, Kate Ratliff adjusting to new roles for Canal Winchester Indians

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Canal Winchester junior Kierstyn Liming, a transfer from Hilliard Davidson, has been leading the Indians offensively along with sophomore Kate Ratliff. Through five games, Ratliff was averaging 10.4 points and 7.2 rebounds and Liming was averaging 9.3 points and 3.9 rebounds.

Almost by default, the Canal Winchester girls basketball team was going to have new leaders both offensively and defensively given that the Indians graduated 84 percent of their scoring from last year’s Division I district runner-up squad. 

Through the first month of the season, two of the top options turned out to be a sophomore who showed flashes of dominance toward the end of last year and a junior who is filling an unfamiliar role in addition to being new to the program. 

Sophomore Kate Ratliff, who at 5-foot-11 has seen time at every position except point guard, was averaging 10.4 points and 7.2 rebounds with 13 steals and four blocks through five games. 

Junior point guard Kierstyn Liming (5-8), who played for Hilliard Davidson as a sophomore, was adding 9.3 points and 3.9 rebounds to help Canal Winchester imrpove to 4-4 overall after beating Davidson 53-49 on Jan. 13. Liming scored 20 points to lead the Indians, who also were 3-4 in the OCC-Capital Division after defeating Franklin Heights 92-14 on Jan. 12. 

“It’s been a good transition,” said Liming, who was a shooting guard at Davidson and led the Wildcats in scoring (10.3) and rebounds (2.9) last year. “I’ve never really been a point guard, but it’s been a good role. We work together well.” 

Ratliff became a full-time varsity player in the middle of last season after Maddie Frank suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. She had 12 points in an overtime win over Olentangy Liberty in a district semifinal, sending the Indians to their first district final in 38 years and first 20-win season since 1985-86. 

Ratliff began this season by recording 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists in a 44-40 loss to Dublin Scioto on Dec. 18. 

Ratlilff's offensive contributions aside, her work on the defensive end equally impresses coach Mark Chapman. 

“She alters a lot of size with her length and there have been times she’s blocked shots just by putting her hand up. She’s not going to get pushed around,” Chapman said. “We try to move her around to where she can be most effective, not just to put her in a certain spot but how we can get her good matchups.” 

Despite those attributes, Ratliff remains surprised by her importance on defense. 

“I thought I’d be more of an offensive player. … I didn’t think I’d play such a big part on defense,” she said. “I’m not as frantic as I used to be (on defense), not trying to reach. That’s how I used to play. It’s been about learning that and understanding the plays. I’ve adapted to the varsity level.” 

Liming scored 20 points on Dec. 19 in a 55-45 win over Worthington Kilbourne. 

“If I’m bringing the ball down the floor, I can get it off to someone and then get it back and create,” Liming said, acknowledging the challenge of leading the offense while still getting to know her teammates. “You get to control (the offense as a point guard). I just have to be smart with the ball and make sure I get the next person open.”

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekDave