WESTFIELD TWP. — Haley Hassinger and her teammates on the Wadsworth girls basketball team got their 3-point shooting eye back Wednesday night.
Mired in a 2-for-22 slump from long range over their last two games, the Grizzlies canned eight 3-pointers in 14 attempts while cruising to an 86-30 Suburban League victory over Cloverleaf.
Shooting guard McKenzie O’Brien canned four trifectas to lead Wadsworth with 17 points, while point guard Rachel Goddard had 15 points and eight assists.
Center Taylore Robinson had 12 points, nine boards and one assist — two if picking up an elderly gentleman’s popcorn after knocking it out of his hands in the second quarter is factored in — and Taylor Wyatt, who entered the game with 23 points on the season, had a career-high 11.
The most encouraging aspect of the night for Wadsworth (13-1, 8-0), however, was the play of small forward Hassinger, who hit three 3-pointers while scoring 13 points against Cloverleaf (6-9, 2-6) for the second time this season.
“Sometimes she forgets she’s a good shooter,” Grizzlies coach Andrew Booth said. “Good shooters always shoot with confidence. When she has a couple games where she doesn’t see the ball go through the basket, she starts to think about it. It was good to see her have some success.”
Wadsworth, which was 0-for-12 from long range Saturday against Revere, wasn’t just chucking and ducking. The Grizzlies poured in 29 points in the first quarter and 49 in the first half, largely because their relentless pressure defense and incredible pace forced the Colts into 26 turnovers over the first 16 minutes.
“We teach our kids to crash the boards hard,” Cloverleaf coach John Carmigiano said. “It’s hard to buck that trend and convince a couple people to stay back, so I’ll just credit Wadsworth with having the fastest transition game around.”
The Colts, who finished with 35 turnovers, were up 9-8 with 4:56 left in the first period, but the roof caved in at that point.
Wadsworth scored 14 unanswered points in just 2:32 to go up 22-9, led 49-15 at intermission and was up 56-15 early in the third, meaning the Grizzlies went on a 48-6 run in less than 15 minutes.
“It took us awhile to get going, but once we did, we did some things I hadn’t seen us do for a few games in terms of running the floor,” Booth said. “We pushed the ball real well and, overall, our execution in the half court was better than it has been.”
Hassinger, who entered the night averaging 6.8 points, had all 13 of her points over the first three periods, including a quick eight in the third.
“It feels good to finally have my shot back,” the 5-foot-7 senior said. “It’s been a struggle. But honestly, I focus more on defense because that leads to offense.”
The Grizzlies, who moved the ball so well they finished with 21 assists, also got five points and eight boards from power forward Peyton Booth, four dimes from backup point guard Hannah Centea and six points and five rebounds from backup center Jodi Johnson.
Briona Burgos came off the bench to lead Cloverleaf, which was outscored 20-2 in the second quarter and finished the night 6-for-18 at the line, with eight points. Point guard Jessica Lindemeyer had seven points, center Lauren Gokey had five points and 10 boards and small forward Lexi Civittolo and backup center Kendall Yuhas had six rebounds apiece.
“I still believe in the direction we’re headed,” Carmigiano said. “Our kids are scrappy and tough. They just ran into one of the best teams in the state.”
Wadsworth, which is ranked ninth in the Division I state poll, will play No. 2 ranked Kettering Fairmont at 8:45 p.m. Sunday in the Classic in the Country in Berlin.
The Grizzlies held Cloverleaf to one point over the second and third periods en route to a 54-14 win in the junior varsity game. Aubrey Virgin, Courtney Palange and Laurel Palitto all had eight points for Wadsworth, while Hannah Huff led Cloverleaf with six.
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or email@example.com.