WADSWORTH — Fresh off a tough loss to Twinsburg and its backup center in the hospital, adversity was definitely working against Wadsworth’s girls basketball team.
The Grizzlies shined under trying circumstances, getting off to a fast start en route to crushing Cloverleaf 70-33 in the Suburban League opener.
Wadsworth (3-1, 1-0), which won its 34th consecutive SL game, was playing with heavy hearts. As of Wednesday night, senior Sabrina Parsons remained in an area hospital with undisclosed injuries sustained during the second half of the 50-36 loss to the Tigers.
“It has been pretty tough on the kids, but they’re pretty resilient,” Grizzlies coach Andrew Booth said. “They don’t really let on to the fact, but it’s got to be tough when one of your seniors and a main piece of your team is unavailable and in the hospital.
“With all that being said, I thought we played really hard.”
Against the Colts (0-3, 0-1), Wadsworth showed no effects of a team that was under stress. The Grizzlies roared to a 46-10 halftime lead behind 15-of-31 shooting from the floor, 10-of-13 at the free throw line and 6-of-9 from 3-point range.
Wadsworth took off its vaunted press and substituted liberally midway through the second quarter, as freshman Jodi Johnson had the best all-around performance with 10 points, seven rebounds and five steals. Haley Hassinger (11 points) and Rachel Goddard (10) were the only other players to reach double figures as the Grizzlies saw 11 players record points.
The only negative was Wadsworth missed 15 of its first 20 second-half shots.
“In the first half, we came out very focused and knew what we had to do,” Booth said.
Meanwhile, youthful Cloverleaf found itself down big despite executing its press breaker with impressive success. Most of the Colts’ 19 first-half turnovers — they had 29 overall — were in the half court, and 4-of-28 shooting contributed heavily to the lopsided halftime margin.
Cloverleaf played much better in the second half, however, winning the third quarter 12-10 and making a very impressive 11-of-13 free throws for the game.
Center Briona Burgos, forward Emily Civittolo and guard Meredith Illig each had six points, while forward Lauren Gokey had four points and a team-high seven rebounds.
“You want to see what kind of character your team is made out of, especially early on in the year,” Cloverleaf coach John Carmigiano said. “I thought that we gave the best effort we could in the second half under the circumstances.”
When Cloverleaf guard Jessie Lindemeyer’s shot attempt wedged between the backboard and rim in the third quarter, it took a referee 10 solid hits with another ball to jar it free, much to the delight of the sparse crowd.
• With 4 minutes left in the third quarter, the Colts had 14 points spread equally among Gokey, Burgos, Jessie Lindemeyer, Rebecca Polchek, Illig, Lexi Civittolo and Emily Civittolo.
• Laural Palitto had 13 points as Wadsworth’s junior varsity won 73-10. Shannon Mohney had four points for Cloverleaf.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.