June 28, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Girls basketball: Grizzlies can’t be slowed down

MEDINA — The Wadsworth girls basketball team successfully met its goal of early energy Thursday night, which allowed the casual fan to make an early exit.

Playing the second game of the All-Medina County semifinals at the Medina Division I District, the Grizzlies stormed to an 81-20 victory over Cloverleaf.

Wadsworth’s Peyton Booth saves the ball from going out of bounds against Cloverleaf’s Meredith Illig in the first quarter. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY RON SCHWANE)

Wadsworth (23-2) has won its tournament games by 49, 72 and 61 points. Next up is Highland, which lost to the Grizzlies 68-35 and 85-52 in the regular season, for a district title Saturday at 3 p.m.

“One of our keys was to have good energy right away,” said senior point guard Rachel Goddard, who made four 3-pointers en route to a game-high 18 points and four assists. “We wanted to get rolling early.”

Copy that.

The Colts (10-15), who committed 27 of their 41 turnovers in the first half, trailed 8-0, 14-2 and, after a 20-0 Wadsworth run, 43-7. Cloverleaf was down 51-12 at intermission and 68-12 after a 17-0 Wadsworth spurt to start the third quarter.

“They came ready to play,” Colts coach John Carmigiano said of the Grizzlies. “They’re a great team. They didn’t get pushed at all in sectionals, so we figured they’d bring their best effort at us.”

Wadsworth, whose starters went 18-for-34 from the field (.529) and 12-for-13 at the line (.923) while playing slightly less than half the game, got 17 points from shooting guard McKenzie O’Brien and 10 points, 10 rebounds and three assists from power forward Peyton Booth.

“We wanted to work hard,” Booth said. “We’re trying to get better each game and work to make this (tournament) run.”

Thirteen players scored for the Grizzlies, who used their 11th through 15th players for the entire fourth quarter.

“The girls have done a great job focusing and not worrying about the opponent,” said Wadsworth coach Andrew Booth, whose team’s three tournament victories have come by an average of 60.7 points. “The first half they did a real nice job of coming out strong.”

The Grizzlies had assists on 20 of their 28 field goals, with Hannah Centea finishing with three and Taylore Robinson, Taylor Wyatt and Elizabeth Edurese adding two apiece.

“We had one possession where all five players touched the ball before we scored,” Andrew Booth said. “That was as good as we’ve moved the ball in a long, long time.”

The Colts, who beat Strongsville and Copley to reach the district semifinals, were minus two of their top three scorers, as Lexi Civittolo missed the entire postseason with a concussion and Bri Burgos suffered the same injury Saturday in a sectional final game.

Cloverleaf, which was 6-for-35 from the field (.171), got eight points and five rebounds from junior point guard Jessica Lindemeyer, while senior Rebecca Polchek came off the bench to knock down a pair of 3-pointers. Senior Kendall Yuhas grabbed a team-high six boards.

The Colts’ only two assists came on Polchek’s buckets, the first by Lindemeyer with 2:33 left in the third period and the second off a pass from Brittany Piper late in the game.

“We were happy our kids were able to accomplish something this postseason,” Carmigiano said. “Those two wins are something we can build on.”

The Grizzlies, who lost in the regional finals last season, still have work to do this year, and they vow not to look past Highland.

“It’s tournament time, so we’re doing everything we can to keep our focus,” Goddard said. “We’re going into every game with intensity. It’s not hard.”

Added Peyton Booth of the Hornets: “They’re a really good team. We’re not going to look past them at all. It’s going to be a big game. Hopefully, we can get the ‘W.’”

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

Rick Noland About Rick Noland

Rick Noland is the Cavs beat writer for The Gazette and the author of "Over Time," a compilation of stories he's written in more than 30 years as a journalist. He can be reached at 330-721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.