October 21, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
51°F

Girls basketball: Grizzlies handle short-handed Explorers

HUDSON — The Wadsworth girls basketball team doesn’t lose very often, so when someone beats the Grizzlies two years in a row, they take notice.

That was unfortunate for Hudson, which was on the wrong end of a 58-33 non-league shellacking Wednesday night.

Wadsworth’s Rachel Goddard, right, ties up Hudson’s Kelly Gough for a jump ball in the first quarter. Below, Wadsworth’s McKenzie O’Brien drives past Hudson’s Kelly Gough in the first quarter. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY RON SCHWANE)

“It was redemption,” said Wadsworth point guard Rachel Goddard, who finished with
15 points, two rebounds, five assists and seven steals. “The last two regular seasons, we haven’t beaten them. We wanted this game.”

The Grizzlies (2-0), who beat the Explorers (1-1) in district tournament action in 2011, wasted no time taking control against a Hudson team that went 18-5 last season.

Despite not playing particularly well offensively, Wadsworth jumped to a 7-0 lead, was up 17-4 at the end of one period and stretched the margin to 28-11 at halftime. The key was defense, as the Grizzlies forced 20 turnovers over the first two quarters, when Hudson made just three field goals.

Goddard had all seven of her steals in that stretch, which was why the Grizzlies were on the verge of blowing out the Explorers despite making 17 turnovers of their own over the first two quarters.

“That was a smooth first half, wasn’t it?” Wadsworth coach Andrew Booth joked. “That was the first-game sloppiness we didn’t show in the first game (an 84-33 win over Manchester).

“When we play Hudson, that’s how it’s going to be. We want to play fast and they want to trap all over the court.”

Booth was the first person to point out the Explorers began the game minus starter Brynne Drohan (knee) and lost best player and Youngstown State recruit Hannah Boesinger to a concussion just 2:10 in, but Hudson coach Dennis Lawler, whose 10-player team also lost Nicole Goodson to a knee injury late, made no excuses.

“We just weren’t ready to play against them physically,” he said. “I’ll take responsibility for that.”

Wadsworth, which used 10 players in the first half, got 11 points and five rebounds from guard McKenzie O’Brien and eight points and six boards off the bench from Sabrina Parsons.

Peyton Booth, Jodi Johnson, Taylore Robinson, Taylor Wyatt, Haley Hassinger and Courtney Palange all had at least three rebounds for the balanced and deep Grizzlies, who had a 38-26 edge on the glass.

The best player on the floor, however, was reigning Gazette MVP Goddard, who had seven points, two boards, two assists and three steals to guide a struggling Wadsworth offense through the first quarter.

“That is what we need our senior point guard to do,” Booth said. “Any stability we got, that’s who we looked to first. We needed her to right the ship a little bit.”

Hudson, which finished with 29 turnovers to the Grizzlies’ 26, got nine points from guard Margo Camp, eight points and 12 rebounds off the bench from Kristen Mummey and six points and four boards from Allison Zullo.

“They like to play fast, but we were trying to get them to play faster,” Goddard said. “We wanted to play fast but keep our minds under control.”

The Grizzlies, who lost in the regional finals last season to finish 22-4, will be out to end another losing streak Saturday when they host two-time defending Division I state champion Twinsburg, which hasn’t lost to an Ohio team since the 2009-10 season.

“I think we’re ready,” Goddard said. “We still have some work to do in practice, but we’ll be prepared for them.”

Notes

Hudson had more turnovers than points the entire game until the final 3 minutes.

• Almost all of Twinsburg’s players were on hand, as was coach Julie Solis. When a Tigers player missed a half-court shot during a halftime promotion and got a hard time from the Wadsworth student section in what had been an extremely quiet gym, she looked over and said, “I’ll see you Saturday.”

•The Grizzlies won the junior varsity game 40-35 behind 11 points from Aubrey Virgin.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com.