January 8, Stow 34 – Jackson 29
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January 9, Field 61 – Crestwood 55
Pretty exciting one here! Field jumped out early with a few buckets, but Crestwood controlled the rest of the first half. The biggest Red Devil lead was 25-13. Field just couldn’t seem to get it going. Camille Adelman was on the bench in some foul trouble(since Field only dressed 9 players they had no choice but to play it safe). Coach Nettleton found a way to get T’d up. Spaller did a swell job keeping the Lady Falcons above water with her 12 first half points. Whatever was said at halftime needs to be remembered because Field came out red-hot! Paige Peachey’s old-fashioned 3 point play gave Field a 30-29 lead that would be short-lived. Several lead changes through the 3rd quarter made for some intense basketball. Crestwood’s coach and bench were beyond fired up throughout the game. Spaller and Adelman both contributed 8 points in the pivotal quarter. Crestwood’s Hoffman tried to keep the Red Devils in it with her long-range shooting, but she couldn’t provide enough. Ultimately Spaller iced the game down the line shooting well from the line. Their last-ditch effort fell short with 7 seconds left, down 3 and a timeout was called that they didn’t have. Spaller showed out tonight, dropping 31 while Camille Adelman added 14 points and 6 rebounds. Hoffman led Crestwood with 20.
Tuslaw 41 – Northwest 30
It was definitely nice to see the Indians compete. Tuslaw is a really young team, yet so disciplined. The Mustangs come at you in waves. Tuslaw went up 15-2 early in the second and it looked like it might get out of control. Northwest decided to fight back this particular day, getting a boost from seniors Jordan Smith and Amanda Crites and sophomores Maddie Worden. The lead shrunk to a couple of possessions but the Mustangs never gave it up. Under the leadership of sophomore PG Bethany Koons Tuslaw held on. Koons is very composed and focused for a young guard. Maybe most impressive is that Tuslaw had 8 girls that played in all 4 quarters, and 10 that played in at least 2. That kind of depth is such an asset and in a tight game that shows the Coach Hose has lots of confidence in his team, ultimately raising theirs.
GlenOak 53 – Jackson 49
I bust into this one at half and seen a very good second half of basketball. This was a very important game for both teams as they had a tough week. GlenOak took butt whoopins from both McKinley and Hoover. Jackson lost to Lake and Stow, two teams with a total of 3 loses, by a total of 6 points. GlenOak won the first meeting this year in a much more high scoring game. GlenOak showed a lot of poise while playing from behind most of the second half, doing a great job of not letting Jackson pull away. Aside from Maddy Repp’s four 3’s GlenOak made a living off of going one on one and scoring at the rim. Jackson did an excellent job of playing team basketball. There was a long stretch of play that every basket of the Polar Bears was assisted on, from every position on the floor. Jackson took the lead on a few easy buckets set up by Litman but Repp hit a runner through the lane that gave GlenOak the lead for good. Anna Alkire had a great performance off the bench giving 8 points and several defensive plays down the stretch. GlenOak post Henkel didn’t play in the second until the last minute, I have no idea why but it surely caught my attention.
Ravenna 63 – Field 51
There are two teams that present a mental block for the Field Falcons, they beat Norton pulling that thorn from their side. Ravenna won 63-51 to complete the season sweep against Field again. It wasn’t for lack of trying, the Falcons had every reason to roll over and concede to defeat. They’re without their starting post Katrina Eldreth, they haven’t beat Ravenna in many tries, and they clearly had their backs against the wall in Ravenna’s gym, if you know what I mean. A quick 9 point run to start the game could have set the tone and made for a long night. The Falcons have too much pride to let that happen. In all reality Ravenna is much bigger, faster and far deeper than Field. The Falcons are more fundamental and disciplined they also have way more heart. Much of the game was a stalemate, anytime the lead got extended the Falcons would battle back, however the Ravens never let it get closer than a couple of possessions. Schwab-Davis led the Ravens with 18 points and 8 rebounds while Sanders and Geib contributed 18 and 12. The Falcons were again led by Tiffany Spaller who finished with 18, and had a very tough defensive assignment guarding the lightning fast Starks. Camille Adelman contributed 8 points and 8 rebounds before her early exit from the game. Alex Shondrick had a great night, scoring 14. That production as huge for the Falcons and will be moving forward. Though Ravenna won and are now 10-4, they aren’t good enough to be as cocky as they are. No slight to Field but in all reality, all things considered, Ravenna should have run them out of the gym, but they didn’t! They are unfocused and complacent to a fault. They are satisfied to just win and have some fun making the other team look bad in the process. When I seen them dancing on the sideline during the break before the 4th quarter that rubbed me the wrong way. They probably won’t face a bigger and faster team in the PTC but they will in the tournament and that will surely open their eyes to where their cockiness has gotten them.
January 13, Marlington 44 – Northwest 33
Early on it looked like the Indians might have carried some positivity over from possibly their best game of the season on Saturday. Early on Northwest looked in control and pretty decent. Until they got in their own way. Marlington is a much improved team, a very solid, scrappy team. On this night the Dukes were less than impressive, but they did a great job of keeping their composure and allowing the game to swing at a natural pace. As soon as Northwest got a sizable double digit lead in the 1st quarter the offense went into auto-pilot. In my opinion one of the worst things a high school girls coach can do is stall, unless the situation is absolutely perfect for it. When girls bodies get slow and lazy so do their minds. This allowed the Dukes to close the gap a bit in the first. Sierra Mayle led the Dukes with 14, mostly in the big 2nd quarter, but Alyssa Powers kept them afloat in the first with 6 of her 10. After a nice run after half and going up 28-22 Northwest got the door slammed in their face. Marlington completely changed the game and took any hope Northwest had away with a 21-0 run. Again while down 29-28 the Indians tried to stall and after a few minutes the Dukes got a turnover and scored within seconds on the other end. That characterized the night, the Indians passively trying to preserve a win and the Dukes never losing faith and going after the win and aggressively taking it. Northwest was also hurt by untimely substitutions, I’m all for getting the young players on the end of the bench in but Coach Schenz apparently hasn’t mastered the ability to know when. In a pivotal 3rd quarter where the lead changes hands isn’t the time to put in a freshman who is playing their 5th quarter of the night just to pick up several fouls and send the Dukes to the line constantly. The 4th quarter was never in doubt while the Dukes held the Indians scoreless until late and took a large lead. Jordan Smith led the Indians with 12 points. A bright spot for Northwest was the play of Sarah Butti, a sophomore making her 1st career start in place of injured LeAndra Martin and playing well early in the game. It looked like the Indians may have been turning a corner in this one but in the fashion they lost it may have done more bad for their confidence. On the Marlington end, they may not take your breath away with athleticism but they have an attitude. This Marlington team has something to prove, they will not be pushed around. At 9-5 they are a far cry from the 3 win team of last year, and considering there’s only one senior, I’d expect the positive to keep growing!
January 15, Carrollton 58, West Branch 52
January 16, Chippewa 54, Smithville 41
This Chippewa team proved they were worthy of a #5 state ranking. They have gotten noticeably better. The freshman Richards has come along very nicely and she is a serious scoring option. When Richardson is playing as well as she did on this night they will be tough to beat. It’s going to take a legit post player if anyone has any hope of stopping them. Koncz was shooting the ball very well tonight as well. When they have t hitting on all cylinders like tonight against Smithville they are special. There’s not much to say about this one besides Chippewa just flat out beat Smithville. The Smithies came out and got behind but pulled it back to a tie at half. The second half didn’t go so swell for Smithville. Smithville has nothing to hang their heads about, they lost to a very very good Chippewa team.
January 18-20, Classic in the Country @Berlin Hiland High School
January 20, Struthers 60 – Manchester 53
Very glad I got to see this one, between two very good teams that are going to make deep tournament runs. Manchester looked to have full control of the game early, going up double digits in the first quarter. Then McKenna Shives and the Lady Cats got going, shrinking a double-digit first quarter lead to 27-24 at half. Shives hit 4 three pointer son the night and got her teammates involved. Shives, who is a 2 time All Ohio Honorable Mention, was assigned to guard Kayci Krzynowek, a career 1000 point scorer. I don’t know if that matchup was better or the little fireball Grier Cowles guarding Shives on the other end. After the game McKenna personally told me that she gives Cowles a lot of credit. Shortly into the 2nd half Struthers grabbed their first lead and quickly extended it to almost 10. Manchester didn’t sit back and take though, they fought right back into it. After being down 50-42 the Panthers went on a run to get the game within a point at 50-49, but that would be as close as it got as the Wildcats iced the game late at the line. Shives led Struthers with 21 and Klein led Manchester with 17.
January 22, Hoover 67 – McKinley 50
Hoovers depth came up big tonight, getting big shots from Blyer and Manos, and a really solid game from Runner. A good game from Runner is very important because most teams think that is the matchup that they can exploit with bigger guards. Kelsey Lensman came though with a huge game as well with 15, shooting well from outside. Though the game wasn’t ever really out of control it was never really in doubt either. Hoover never really pulled away comfortably until the final minutes, but McKinley couldn’t ever close the gap within 3 possessions. Ronn’Yeil Hogan and Ty Newkirk both had great games, scoring 20+. Newkirk really showed out from deep hitting 5 three pointers. An excellent effort from both of them just wasn’t enough, only getting 9 points from the rest of the team. Stroemple had a much needed big game leading Hoover.
January 23, Northwest 43 – Lake Center Christian 26
Through 3 quarters Lake Center was in the game, including a lead midway through the period. Though it took the Indians 24 minutes to put the game away they eventually did just that. Miller had a game high 13 for Lake Center and Jordan Smith led the Indians, who got their 2nd win of the year, with 10.
January 24, Conotton Valley 59 – Shadyside 26
Not much of a game as Shadyside was down over 40 in the 3rd quarter. At a certain point I was wondering if Shadyside was even going to score. It was 59-26 but it wasn’t even that close, a 19-5 4th quarter after Conotton Valley removed the starters made it look a little less devastating. Olivia Bower did reach an impressive milestone of scoring 1000 points, in just her junior year. The Rockets remain undefeated on the season.
January 25, Field 58 – Kent Roosevelt 46
Such a big win for Field, besting the PTC leading Kent Roosevelt. Very close 1st half ended in a 21-21 tie. After Field jumped out to a lead in the second period, Kent fought back to even it out by half. Field again started the 3rd quarter with a run, equaling their biggest lead of six at 39-33 early in the 4th. Kent fought back again to get within 2, however that is as close as they would get. Field looked extremely gassed to start the 4th. Depth isn’t an asset they have, and I was wondering if they had enough to finish strong. After Kent pulled within 2 the Lady Falcons found a second wind and ended the game on a 15-5 run behind the Adelman sisters, Maggie and Camille.
January 27, Solon 54 – Stow 29
I’ll tell you what, Solon gets better and better everyday I think. The defensive intensity was incredible! I was curious to see how well Solon could handle the length of Stow at the guard position but the Solon guards did great. They actually forced Stow into a ton of turnovers, bad shots and bad decisions. First quarter it stayed close, but not much after that, gradually Solon pulled away. Kristen Confroy had a huge night with 25 points, 8 rebounds, 6 steals and 4 assists. On this night everyone played well. Even though they may not have scored a lot of points, everyone had some timely buckets and plays on the defensive end. Stover threw in 9 to propel the Comets. Junior Jordan Bekelja had an injury scare at the end however she is ok.
Timken 49 – Triway 37
Not only was I impressed with the showing of the fans, but I was also impressed with Timken’s diversity. Although Singleton did almost outscore Triway by herself, and is always the leading scorer, they aren’t as one-dimensional as people think. Mariah Mercer is a very capable scorer, and hit some big shots in the half I watched. They have defenders and they have rebounders. It will be a tough postseason playing in D1 but for the time being they have clinched at least a share of the PAC-7, for the first time ever.
McKinley 64 – Jackson 52
McKinley doomed Jackson in the 2nd quarter allowing them to only score 3 points. That turned a Jackson team that was playing well and with some confidence into a Jackson team playing from behind and with some panic. Pitts had a great game for the Pups in the absence of Pettit, who was on the bench for disciplinary reasons. Hogan and Newkirk again led McKinley, who was coming off a tough loss at Lake. Jackson showed a lot of toughness and never laid down, they pulled within 6 late in the game but was turned back by Ty Newkirk who went 6-6 from the line down the stretch. I really like seeing Alkire in the lineup more for Jackson, she seems to lower the turnovers and increase the amount of nice easy baskets.
Marlington 46 – Canton South 36
Canton South really is behind the 8-ball right about now. Three year starting point guard Joelle Martin hasn’t seen the floor in who knows how long due to a banged up knee. Replacement Olivia Forshey is out with a busted up nose. Now one of their biggest offensive threats is playing out of position. Not that Tharp can’t run the point, she’s just more effective working away from the ball and coming off screens. however this is where some injuries have left the Wildcats. The injuries haven’t killed their heart though, they still fight tooth and nail. Also very encouraging for Canton South is I’m seeing more bodies on the floor holding their own and showing improvement over the season. Improvement is also a thing that I see from Marlington. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen them last and I am still so impressed with the team effort, there aren’t any real superstars on this team, they just play hard and play together. On a Senior Night that seen only one senior, Sierra Mayle, the Marlington faithful have to be excited.
Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 57 – Canton Central Catholic 28
I’ll just be short and sweet here. Columbus get ready for the Irish, St. V fans, book your hotels now, save yourself the rush. On the other side, Central played tough as nails! I don’t think anyone in the state expected this to be a 25-20 game halfway through the 3rd. Central forced the Irish into a lot of things they didn’t like, triple teamed Korinek and never let the Irish physically intimidate them. I was very impressed with Central and if they play like this in the tournament they will make that D3 Wooster District that much more interesting. However the Crusaders just didn’t have enough, they couldn’t matchup with the Irish physically, strategically or personnel-wise. St. V is loaded! Korinek and May have to be in the conversation for the best post-guard combo in the state, if not thee best! They start 5 seniors, have the best bench I’ve ever seen. Motts and Handley would start on just about any team in the state and they have JV players buried on the bench that are just exceptional and would start on almost any team in Northeast Ohio. Like I said, book your rooms now for March 13-15.
Feb 3, West Branch at Austintown Fitch
February 5, Solon at Wadworth
February 6, Berea-Midpark at McKinley
February 8 , Marlington at Manchester
February 9, Field vs Southest @Quicken Loans Arena
February 10, Aliiance at Northwest
February 11, Carrollton at Hoover
February 12, Akron North at Canton South
February 13, Waynedale at Smithville
These dates are tentative and some will change, I will be adding games as the season goes and I get more schedules.