July 24, 2016

Partly cloudy

Girls basketball: Grizzlies christen gym by crushing Panthers

WADSWORTH — The atmosphere inside Wadsworth’s brand-new, 3,700-plus seat gymnasium will certainly take time to get used to.
The results? They were extremely familiar Saturday night.

The Grizzlies were in postseason form, dominating from start to finish in a very efficient 84-33 non-league win over Manchester.

It was a near-perfect girls basketball debut at the new high school made possible by Wadsworth playing the only it knows how — as a true team.

“It’s definitely a lot different because in our old gym there was a lot of history,” center Taylore Robinson said. “But this gym is bigger, newer and brighter. I think we’re most excited to make history in our own gym.”

The Grizzlies saw Haley Hassinger (game-high 14 points), Rachel Goddard (13), McKenzie O’Brien (11, 5 assists), Peyton Booth (10, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals) and Robinson (11) reach double figures, while freshman Jodi Johnson added nine points.

Ten players scored overall, eight grabbed three or more rebounds and Hannah Centea, Booth, O’Brien and Goddard dished out three or more assists as Wadsworth led 49-13 at halftime, shot 34-of-66 (.515) from the floor overall and committed just seven turnovers until the junior varsity took over with 4 minutes to go.

They were just as strong defensively, limiting the Panthers, the reigning Associated Press Division II state poll champion, to just 7-of-45 shooting (.156), and Wadsworth center Sabrina Parsons (6 points, 10 rebounds) was outrebounding the Panthers single-handedly until late in the third quarter.

“We just played together, and I think that’s what we do best at,” Hassinger said. “That’s why we’re such a great team — because we play together. When it’s always one player, you can’t always win the game.”

Rolling to a 7-0 lead before Manchester even drew iron, Wadsworth made it known early it was going to own the paint. Normally a high-volume 3-point-shooting team in the half court, the Grizzlies remained patient and ran their offense through posts Robinson, Booth, Parsons and Madison Gilger.

The share-the-ball philosophy was impressive, as the quartet combined for 33 points, 24 rebounds, six assists and seven steals.

Robinson also came through with the play of the night when she stole the ball, rumbled down the court and faked a pass while scoring a layup in one motion, sending the always-rowdy student section into histeria.

“Coach (Andrew Booth) really stressed execution in practice — actually, he does that all the time,” Robinson said. “So that was the mentality we came out with.”

The guards did their thing as well, as Goddard netted all her points in the first half. Hassinger scored 12 points in the middle quarters, while O’Brien provided three 3-pointers on a night where the Grizzlies attempted just 11.

Johnson also flashed her already-trademark athleticism with a pair of slick driving layups as Wadsworth’s bench outscored Manchester’s 25-2.
“Typically, opening night can be sloppy,” said Booth, who’s now seven wins from passing Todd Osborn’s school record of 147. “I was very pleased and pleasantly surprised. I thought we were very focused and sharp.”

Albert Grindle About Albert Grindle

Albert Grindle is a sportswriter for the Gazette. He can be reached at 330-721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.