By Chad Grant
BERLIN — Sometimes you really can’t see the forest through the trees.
The Wadsworth girls basketball team found out the hard way Sunday night in its tough 67-47 loss to Kettering Fairmont at the Classic in the Country event.
The Grizzlies opened firing on all cylinders behind McKenzie O’Brien (12 points), who had eight first-quarter points, and took the game to the Firebirds (13-0) in building a 17-13 lead after the opening quarter.
But Fairmont’s size eventually took over.
“I told our girls that Wadsworth plays hard all the time,” Fairmont coach Tim Cogan said. “I love the way they play, and they came out with a lot of excitement and an opportunity to beat us. We got a little frustrated here and there, but we weathered the storm.”
Wadsworth (13-2) played at a rapid pace, making the bigs from Fairmont uncomfortable. It created open shots and an open lane for O’Brien and her teammates to take advantage of.
“We were executing our whole game plan and doing the little things right,” O’Brien said “We had a lot of energy and we knew we were in it. We kept going and going and we all played together.”
It all changed when the post players for Fairmont had a chance to take root and start dominating the paint.
Kathryn Westbed (16 points, 14 rebounds) and McKayla Waterman (5, 8) lived up to the hype, and, with each standing a legitimate 6-foot-2, proved to be too much for the Grizzlies to handle inside.
“We have been really working on rebounding,” Westbed said. “The last game we played, the team had a height advantage on us, so we knew we had to work on it. That’s what we really focused on tonight.”
The big frontcourt helped the Firebirds to a huge 45-29 rebounding advantage, including 20-9 on the offensive end.
“That was the story of the game — offensive rebounding,” Wadsworth coach Andrew Booth said. “I think the girls did a great job, but you’re not going to stop kids of that caliber on every possession, so we tried to funnel the ball. It seemed like every time they missed a jump shot that we wanted them to take, they were able to get a stick-back — sometime two or three.”
Westbed scored eight points during the second quarter as the Firebirds slowed the game down and worked the ball inside to enter the half up 32-26.
The lead continued to grow as Wadsworth, which shot 8-of-19 in the first half, went ice cold in the second (7-of-25). The score reached a high-point of 62-40 before both teams began subbing liberally with 5 minutes left.
Rachel Goddard joined O’Brien in double-figures with 12 points, while Jodi Johnson and Taylore Robinon led the Grizzlies with six boards apiece.
Contact Chad Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org.