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February 23, 2014

Roundup: Hickory beats Conneaut Area; Farrell, Mercer, Brookfield win

- — Eight area girls basketball teams were in action on Saturday as the District 10 and OHSAA playoffs tipped off.

In Class A, Farrell beat Youngsville, 43-32, while Reynolds suffered a 52-17 loss to Rocky Grove.

In AA, Mercer was the only area team to advance as the Lady M’s beat Fairview, 44-33. Sharon lost to Seneca, 65-51, and Girard ousted Wilmington, 45-36.

In AAA, the Hickory improved to 23-0 with a 45-23 victory against Conneaut Area, while Villa Maria ousted Grove City, 37-21.

In OHSAA Division III, the Brookfield girls defeated Liberty, 56-37.

Following are staff reports:

CLASS AAA

ä Hickory 45, Conneaut Area 23 —
While the Lady Hornets remained undefeated it was not the walk-over some may have expected, particularly in the 1st half.

Hickory held a 20-13 halftime lead. However at the outset of the 2nd half CASH committed almost as many turnovers (6) as it scored points (8), helping Hickory harvest a 37-21 lead entering the 4th frame.

Nikki Arbanas annexed 8 of her team-high 14 points during the 3rd quarter, tossing in 2 treys. Also for Hickory (23-0), Holly Grober garnered an 8-point, 7-rebound, 5-assist line, while Arbanas added 5 rebounds and 3 assists and Brandi Beader bucketed 7 points.

Defensively, Hickory coerced CASH into committing 17 miscues and an 8-for-31 shooting performance (25.8 percent).

“Coming in(to the playoffs), everybody’s even and everybody’s fighting for the same thing, and I thought we weathered the storm early, as far as offensively ... ” related Hickory Head Coach Jeanette Whitehead.

“I give credit to Conneaut — their defense, their athleticism. They certainly came out to play. For us, we had some good looks, but were rushing some things, but we did settle down,” Whitehead assessed.

Hickory shot 20 for 48 from the floor (41.7 percent), outrebounded CASH 30-25, and the Lady Hornets committed 11 turnovers.

For Head Coach Bill Stevenson’s Lady Eagles (19-4), senior Challen Litwiler led with an 8-point, 6-rebound, 4-assist line. Also, Kristen Baker bucketed 9 points, Kimmy Litwin distributed 3 assists, and Lindsey Shidemantle secured a handful of rebounds.

The Lady Hornets will meet Mercyhurst Prep — a 59-39 winner over Franklin — on Wednesday at a site and time to be announced. — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.

ä Villa Maria 37, Grove City 21 — At Fairview High, the Region 6 champion Lady Victors (20-2) led 13-4 after the opening quarter and 26-7 at halftime and cruised to the D-10 quarterfinal win against the Lady Eagles (12-11).

Lindsey Mifsud, a Seton Hill University recruit, led Villa Maria with 10 points.

Brenna Deyarmin was the leading scorer for Grove City with 5 points while Jordyn Wyllie and Arianna Sprando had 4 each.

Villa Maria advances to the semifinals to play Slippery Rock on Wednesday at a site and time TBA. The Lady Rockets beat Harbor Creek, 49-30, on Saturday at Kennedy Catholic High.

CLASS AA

ä Mercer 44, Fairview 33 —
The Lady M’s mustered an 8-for-16 first-half shooting performance — led by Adelyn Cook’s trio of treys — en route to a 27-17 margin at intermission.

From that juncture it was a wire-to-wire win for Region 2-AA co-champion Mercer (17-5), which led 35-23 through 3 quarters. However Fairview forged within 35-28 with 4:09 remaining on Katie Sundberg’s traditional 3-point play, though that was as close as the Lady Tigers would come.

“When we see the ball go in the hole at the very beginning, it turns the momentum and a little anxiety turns into a little aggression,” mused Mercer mentor Aaron Cook relating to his Lady M’s strong start.

Adelyn Cook posted a 4-for-5 first-half shooting performance, while Alexis Arkwright annexed 10 of her 13 tallies.

“I’ll tell you what, the last couple games she’d really been struggling with her shot, but she’s a ‘gamer.’ I told her, ‘Hey, just go out and play your game’ and she hit some. It was really good,” Coach Cook complimented.

A point of emphasis for Mercer was defensing Fairview’s leading scorer Katie Sundberg, who despite finishing with an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double, attempted only a handful of floor shots through the game’s first 24 minutes. She also was playing with a painful quadriceps strain.

“She is one terrific player, but we defended the lane like we had to,” Coach Cook commented. “We gave up a couple uncontested three’s, which I didn’t like. But we had to do that instead of letting her score inside, ’cause she’s tough, she’s very, very good.”

Arkwright and Cook collected 13 points apiece and Megan McKinney snared a team-high 7 rebounds for Mercer, which made the most of the free-throw line, converting 66.7 percent (16 of 24), compensating for 12-for-31 shooting from the field. Lex Mills also dished out 4 assists, and the Lady M’s made only 13 miscues.

The Lady Tigers turned over the ball only 10 times and outrebounded Mercer, 34-32. However Fairview (12-11) finished just 12 for 53 from the floor 22.6 percent) for Head Coach Lance Brown.  - By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.

ä Seneca 65, Sharon 51 — A troubling trend — Lady Tigers’ turnovers — short-circuited Sharon’s otherwise solid season. After making only 2 first-quarter miscues and maintaining a 14-10 margin, the Lady Tigers turned over the ball 16 times during the game’s final 24 minutes.

“We were playing fast, trying to get (the Lady Bobcats) to play fast. But it was the same thing: We just couldn’t take care of the ball,” lamented 2nd-season Sharon skipper Maria Joseph. “We play fast, but it happens when you want to play fast. We did it all year and were able to bounce back from it, but (Saturday) we weren’t able to.”

Nonetheless, a pivotal point occurred 8 seconds into the 4th frame with Seneca securing a 47-35 lead. Lady Tiger Tanayja Sanders scored from the low block, but instead was whistled for an offensive foul — her 4th. Simultaneously Joseph was flagged for a technical foul by an official off the ball who did not make the charging call. More significant than the 3-point swing was that Sanders sat a considerable portion of the final frame.

Sanders was unstoppable, securing a game-high 22-point, 11-rebound double-double — to lead Sharon (15-8). Sanders sank 10 of her 12 field-goal attempts; otherwise Sharon shot 10 for 40 as a team.

“It’s never good when you get in foul trouble,” Joseph admitted, noting, “We try to be aggressive, but a touch here, a touch there, it can go one way or it can go another way, and (Saturday) we were aggressive and got called for it.

“As soon as they took (Sanders’ score) away, that changed the whole game,” Joseph assessed. “We got within (single digits) and you keep battling and battling, but we came up short.”

Despite misfiring on 10 of its first 14 floor shots, Seneca shot extremely well from the field, finishing 23 for 42 (54.7 percent), led by Amanda Sonney’s 10-for-20 shooting. Sonney scored a game-high 26 points — 18 after intermission — and distributed a handful of assists for Seneca (17-6).

Assisting on 17 of their 23 field goals, Coach Steve Carter’s Lady Bobcats’ balanced attack also included Katie Teed’s 16-point, 11-rebound double-double, Kym Braine’s 11-point, 6-rebound, 5-assist line, and Alexa Snarski, who scored 8 and snared 7 caroms.

Sharon seniors include Sanders, Mallory Torr, Kelsie McGranahan, Leah Smith and Kieran Zajac.

“I told them I love ’em to death. I credit them for all the success they had this season, and they’re going to be a bunch I’m going to miss,” Joseph praised. “They played hard, they gave everything they had for me every day — and I demand a lot — but they stepped up to the challenge, every day.” — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.

ä Girard 45, Wilmington 36 — At Fairview High, the Lady Hounds (15-8) got off to a disastrous start and it cost them as they fell to the Lady Yellow Jackets (18-5).

Girard jumped out to a 14-0 lead to start the game. Wilmington battled back and cut the deficit to 30-29 when Dakota Naples buried a 3-pointer to start the 4th quarter. But Girard sank 10 free throws down the stretch to put the game away.

Maria Welch led Girard with 15 points while Emma Oas tallied 10, all from the charity stripe. Oas sank 8 of her free throws down the stretch and Welch had 2 to ice the game. Girard was a perfect 16-of-16 from the charity stripe.

Naples sank 4 treys en route to 12 points for Wilmington while Hannah Drake also scored a dozen points.

Girard, who finished 2nd behind Gen. McLane in Region 4, advances to play Mercer.

CLASS A

ä Farrell 43, Youngsville 32 —
At Oil City High’s “House of Hustle,” coach Ed Turosky’s Lady Steelers (8-15) knocked off the Lady Eagles of Youngsville (7-16).

Farrell jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and only led 6-3 after the opening quarter, but pulled away in the 2nd quarter by outscoring Youngsville 17-9 to take a 23-12 at halftime.

Janee Avery scored 11 points for Farrell while Bria Gambill bucketed 10.

Karissa Cratty led the way for the Region 3 Lady Eagles with 11 points.

“It was a heck of a team effort,” said Turosky. “The kids had some nerves early in the game, but we hit a couple of shots and got rolling. We played very good defense and pressured the ball.

“The Cratty kids (Karissa and Kennedy) were averaging 14 and 10 points per game, so we held them in check. Janee — who hasn’t seen a lot of playing time lately — came off the bench for us and gave us a huge spark. Now we gotta get ready for Kennedy.”

Kennedy Catholic, the Region 1 champoin, earned a bye into the semifinals. Farrell and KC will play Wednesday at a site and time TBA.

Kennedy has won 3 straight D-10 titles and 9 in the past 13 years. Farrell has won 3 title during that stretch, the last coming in 2010.

ä Rocky Grove 52, Reynolds 17 — At Oil City High, the Lady Orioles (13-9) led 11-2 after the opening 8 minutes, 20-7 at the break and rolled past the Lady Raiders (7-15).

Aleece Schiffer buried 4 treys en route to 15 points for Rocky Grove, which finished 2nd in Region 1 (6-4) to Kennedy Catholic. Also, Amber Nerlich scored 12 for RG and Lauren Swatzler bucketed 11.

Brooke Bresnan led Reynolds with 7 points.

“We’re still young and happy to get to the playoffs,” said 2nd-year Reynolds coach Will Juranovich. “We have some younger girls coming up and our eighth-grade team went 20-0. We’re just trying to get better every season.

“I’d like to thank my three seniors (Rose Stoyer, Rachel Toy, Danielle Babcock). It wasn’t how we wanted to end the season, but we’ll come back and fight another day. Good luck to all the local teams that are moving on.”

Rocky Grove advances to play Cochranton in the semifinals on Wednesday. The Lady Cardinals, who won their 1st Region 3/conference title in 30 years, had a bye in the quarterfinals.

OHSAA Div. III Playoffs

Cuyahoga Falls Regional

Struthers District

ä Brookfield 56, Liberty 37 —
At Brookfield, coach Shawn Hammond’s Lady Warriors (16-7) rolled past the Lady Leopards (12-10) in the Struthers District quarterfinals.

Brookfield led 15-8 after 8 minutes of play and 25-15 at halftime. The Lady Warriors would then outscore Liberty 11-5 in the 3rd quarter and 20-17 in the final frame.

Danielle DiCristofaro fired in 17 points to pace Brookfield while Ashley Kirila registered 13 markers. Lauren Hawley, Autumn Kirila, Delany Saxton and Brooke Hiner had 5 rebounds each.

Leah Leshnack led Liberty with 15 points.

Brookfield faces South Range in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Struthers Field House South Range ousted Girard, 46-40, on Saturday.

Ursuline and Springfield are in the other semifinal game. They play Thursday at 6 p.m. at Struthers.

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