With the postseason on the horizon, Brookfield High girls’ basketball team has been challenged.
The Lady Warriors have been without senior stalwart Ashley Kirila for 2 weeks, and Brookfield had been beaten twice in its last 4 outings. Convoluted as it sounds, though, it may prove to be a blessing for Brookfield, if Monday night’s 51-39 victory over LaBrae’s Vikings is any indication.
On Senior Night, sans Kirila — its leading scorer through 15 games — Brookfield was bolstered by balanced contributions from a half-dozen others. Autumn Kirila connected for a team-high 12 points and Danielle DiCristofaro and Brooke Hiner evenly divided 20 points, Destiny May mustered a game-high 11 rebounds, while Delaney Saxton scored 9 and snared 7 more caroms.
In addition, DiCristofaro dished out a game-high half-dozen assists, while Autumn Kirila contributed 3 and Saxton and Hiner 2 apiece. Also, Lauren Hawley hit a pair of opening-quarter 3-point field goals to jump-start a sluggish offense.
“We told ’em we need people to come in and do your role and add a little scoring to your game,’” related Brookfeld bench boss Shawn Hammond. “We ask them to do certain things, and this group of kids I have are really unselfish.
“They’ve adjusted to everything we’ve asked. We’ve taken some playing time away, given a little bit more to some, and they’ve kind’ve gone with everything,” Hammond continued. “Brooke Hiner and Michaela (Gauding) and Alisha Quinlan, comin’ off the bench. They were off and on throughout the year — JV, varsity. But they’ve really come on since Ashley’s been out.
“We could be between a six-to-nine player rotation, if they’re playing well,” Hammond said. “It’s been a little bit different each night, and we told ’em, ‘It’s gonna have to be by committee. Do what you can.’ If everyone makes one more free throw and we have one less turnover, that helps when you’ve got eight or nine playing. That’s gonna go a long way.”
Monday night, the teams were tied at 12 late in the 1st frame, then the Lady Vikes virtually shut down offensively. From the opening quarter’s conclusion, by which time Brookfield boasted a 14-13 lead, LaBrae was blanked, missing 9 shots during the 2nd stanza while committing a half-dozen miscues.
Benefitting from Saxton’s 6 points, Autumn Kirila’s 4-point contribution, and DiCristofaro’s triple, built a 29-13 Brookfield bulge by the break. The Lady Warriors were never headed thereafter, leading 40-24 through 3 periods.
The Lady Warriors were unselfish, tallying 15 assists on 19 field goals.
“We needed that ... it was fun to watch,” Hammond admitted. “They moved the ball real well. The first quarter, we struggled a little bit; seemed like they were trying to figure out what zone they were in. Once they started moving the ball, spread it around, we made a couple shots and it opened up inside. But they did a real nice job with that.”
Ashley Kirila, a 6-foot senior post, suffered a Lisfranc break of her left foot in a game approximately 2 weeks ago. The Lady Warriors (15-6) have their regular-season finale at Vienna-Mathews on Thursday, then will host Liberty, 4 p.m. Feb. 22 in the opening round of the playoffs.
“We’re hopin’ she can give us one, last hurrah, but we’ve gotta wait and see,” Hammond related. “We have two weeks before we get to that point ... that gives her a little more time off. ... It’s sad for her. She’s battled, probably two years of ankle injuries. ... so many injuries she’s had, it’s been tough.”
The OHSAA has adopted a new postseason format, and the former sectionals hosted annually by some schools have been scrapped. Conceivably, if the Lady Warriors continue winning they could remain at home for a couple postseason games.
“If (Ashley Kirila) can go a little bit, we’ll probably test her that night, just let it go. If she can help us, she can help us,” Hammond forecasted.
Hawley, DiCristofaro and Ashley Kirila are the Lady Warriors’ seniors, and Hammond said specifically regarding Brookfield’s backcourt, “This will be tough leaving those two go, along with Ashley. (Hawley and DiCristofaro) have been the starting guards for me for the last three years.
“It’s been comfortable for me, I guess, ’cause I’ve had that luxury of them just taking a lot into their own hands. They push everybody, they’re great leaders, and they really will be missed.”
Leading LaBrae (12-7) was Somer McCoy’s 14 markers, 8 rebounds and 3 assists, Maddie Kiser (11 points, 5 rebounds), and Morgan Meyer (6 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists). — By Ed Farrell, Herald assistant sports editor.
ä Hickory 70, Oil City 30 — On Senior Night at “The Hive” in Hermitage, coach Jeanette Whitehead’s undefeated Lady Hornets (11-0, 20-0) flew out to a 21-4 lead after the opening 8 minutes and never looked back in posting the Region 5-AAA win.
Nikki Arbanas posted 15 points and 6 steals to lead Hickory, Nicole LaCava registered a 14-point, 10-rebound, 3-steal double-double, Megan Chess had 10 points, Holly Grober added 10 points and 6 boards and Jasmine Shephard tallied 4 steals.
“My seniors (Shephard, Shawna Moore, Arbanas and Holly Grober) are an outstanding group of girls,” said Whitehead.
Steph Stevenson and Carlee Wenner had 8 points for Oil City (4-7, 12-8). Standout Riley Davis was held to only 4 points.
ä Slippery Rock 36, Grove City 31 — At “The Rock Box” in Slippery Rock, the Lady Rockets trailed 14-8 at the end of the 1st quarter, 21-16 at halftime and 25-24 after 3, but outscored GC 12-6 in the 4th to pull out the Region 5-AAA win.
Riley McGonigle and Jenna Whitmer had 8 points each for Slippery Rock (7-2, 13-4).
Brenna Deyarmin scored a game-high 14 points for the Lady Eagles (6-5, 12-9).
ä Mercer 59, Sharon 56 — At Sharon, the visiting Lady M’s mustered 8 missiles from beyond the arc en route to the Region 2-AA road win.
Sharon stormed to a 30-23 margin at intermission, but the host Lady Tigers tallied only 8 third-period points and trailed 42-38 entering the final frame.
Sharon actually outscored Mercer, 18-17, during the final 8 minutes as Tanayja Sanders scored 6 of her game-high 20 and Amarah Reed recorded 6 of her 11. However that was offset by 5, 4, 3 and 3 points, respectively, from Lexie Arkwright, Alexis Mills, Aubrie Angermeier and Jordyn Fisher.
For Mercer (9-2, 15-5), Arkwright annexed 15 points, Mills 13 and Megan McKinney 11. Also, Mercer’s marksmanship from the free-throw line was 10 for 15 (66.7 percent).
Sanders secured a game-high 20 points and hauled down 9 rebounds for Sharon (9-2, 14-7), while Reed recorded 11, as did Delisa Smith. The Lady Tigers tallied 11 of 18 free-throw attempts.
ä Sharpsville 46, Lakeview 19 — On Senior Night at Sharpsville, the Lady Blue Devils (5-6, 9-10) led 14-2 after the opening 8 minutes and 28-6 at the break and cruised to the Region 2-AA victory.
Madison Przicina scored 12 points for Sharpsville, Madison Sloan had 11 points and 4 steals, Eugena Davies contributed 5 assists and Izzy Schell grabbed 8 rebounds.
Sharpsville’s lone senior is Megan Davis, who has not played all year after tearing her ACL during volleyball.
Sam Womer scored 6 points to pace the Lady Sailors (0-12, 5-15).
ä Kennedy Catholic 74, Farrell 32 — At Hermitage, 1st-year coach Chris Mele’s Lady Golden Eagles (8-0, 17-2) secured the Region 1-A crown with the win over the Lady Steelers (4-5, 6-14).
Farrell led 16-12 after the opening quarter, but KC came roaring back in the 2nd frame to take a 40-22 lead at the break.
“It’s always nice to win the region,” said Mele. “The girls have worked hard and it was one of our goals from the onset. Now we can focus on our other goals.
“I really have to give credit to Farrell. They put it to us in the first quarter, but we settled down, forced quite a few turnovers and started playing as a team.”
Taylor Hood rifled in a career-high 27 points for KC. She also had 4 assists, 4 rebounds and 6 steals. April Bocian tallied 13 points, 7 boards and 4 steals. Also for KC, Rebekah Kish dished out 8 assists, Mckayla Fusco posted 5 assists and 3 steals and Tatum Kress added 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists.
Whitney Murray led Farrell with a dozen points.
ä Reynolds 49, Jamestown 22 — On Senior Night in Transfer, coach Will Juranovich’s Lady Raiders improved to 5-4 in Region 1-A and 6-13 overall with the victory over the winless Lady Muskies (0-8, 0-20).
Brooke Bresnan fired in 20 points to lead Reynolds while seniors Rose Stoyer had 9 points, Danielle Babcock bucketed 6 and Rachel Toy had 7.
Emily Robinson and MiKayla Keyser had 6 points each for Jamestown.
ä Rocky Grove 44, Commodore Perry 34 — At The ’Grove, Coach Bob Messina’s Lady Panthers procured a 22-13 margin at intermission; however, the Lady Orioles outscored Perry 31-12 during the 2nd half of the Region 1-A affair.
Rocky Grove garnered 16 of 20 free throws, compared with Commodore Perry’s 4-for-9 shooting.
Steph Vaughn led Commodore Perry (3-6, 11-10) with 10 points.
Kellianne Nerlich notched a game-high 14 points for Rocky Grove (6-3, 12-8), while Aleece Schiffer scored 11.
INDOOR TRACK & FIELD
The Hickory boys and girls had some excellent performances at recent meets at Youngstown State and Edinboro universities.
Luke Lewis broke his school shot-put record again with a throw of 62-3 for 1st place at the Tri-State Track & Field Coaches Assn. meet at Edinboro. Also at Edinboro, Austin Aikins finished 5th in shot with a heave of 49-6. Other Hickory shot-put place-winners were: 1st—Elena Marchand, 42-1; 4th—Cailen Blaire, 37-5; 7th—Toni McKinley, 34-4.
ä At Youngstown, Lewis (59-9.5) and Marchand (40-1) both copped 1st places, while Aikins finished 5th (51-0, state qualifier) and Blaire 3rd (38-4.75), Sophia Fustos, 4th (38-0 state qualifier) and McKinley, 7th (35-11.5)
Other performances at Youngstown were:
Weight throw - 9th, Aikins, 39-8; triple jump - 10th, Bobby Marzano, 34-9.5.
60-meter hurdles, 9th Madi Bell, 10.35; mile, 8th Lexi Bible, 5:36.63; pole vault - 5th Malayna Mason, 8-0; 6th Olivia Fustos, 7-6; triple jump - 7th Alyssa Kostka, 30-5.5; 8th Claire Malak, 29-5.25; weight throw - 3rd Blaire, 40-0; 4th McKinley, 39-7; 9th Lauren Garthwaite, 23-8.
With the postseason on the horizon, Brookfield High girls’ basketball team has been challenged.
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