July 24, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Girls basketball: Quick and painless, balanced Grizzlies move on to finals

WADSWORTH — The most important thing Saturday was no one got hurt.

The top-seeded Wadsworth girls basketball team played really, really nice and opened the Medina Division I Sectional with an 84-9 over No. 33 seed and winless Lincoln-West.

Coach An-drew Booth pulled the press midway through the first quarter, the starters at halftime and the backup rotation players with 5:16 left in the third quarter.

Wadsworth power forward Laurel Palitto grabs a rebound against Lincoln-West’s Nautica Chappell. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY RON SCHWANE)

Wadsworth power forward Laurel Palitto grabs a rebound against Lincoln-West’s Nautica Chappell. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY RON SCHWANE)

The state-ranked Grizzlies (22-1) host 32nd-seeded John Marshall on Thursday.

“We did what we had to do to get things done and better ourselves for the future,” senior guard Taylor Wyatt said. “We worked on our plays and we had to stay focused. It’s a lot of mental (focus) in games like that.”

The Wolverines finished 3-for-36 (.083) shooting and committed turnovers on their first 12 possessions before hard-playing freshman point guard Alexus Goss (team-high 6 points) made a free throw with 3:03 left in the first quarter.

Goss later attempted Lincoln-West’s first shot with an air-balled 17-footer at the 2:04 mark. She then took the first attempt that drew iron 1:03 later and made the first field goal on a 3-pointer with 4:45 left in the first half.

The bucket drew a loud, supportive cheer from the Wadsworth crowd after the Grizzlies’ lead was cut to 45-4.

“We didn’t know what we were getting in to when we went into this game,” Wyatt said. “So, we had to figure it out. That will better us for the future.”

Fourteen of the 15 Wadsworth players in uniform scored. The only one that didn’t, Brenna Murphy, led the game with four assists.

Jodi Johnson had 12 points and seven rebounds, and her twin sister Jenna was right behind with a career-high 11 points. Wyatt (11 points) also reached double figures on an afternoon in which the Grizzlies committed just three fouls — all shooting — and three turnovers while shooting a respectable 11-for-16 (.688) from the foul line.

“There’s tons of things we can always do to get better,” said Wyatt, whose team’s top unit missed a handful of layups. “Like better talking and always staying focused no matter what type of game it is.”

The junior varsity lineup of Murphy, Jenna Johnson, Brennan Williams (2 points, 5 rebounds), Annie Gilbert (7, 6) and McKenna Banks (5, 6, 2 assists) played the final 10:28 of the game, when Booth instructed them to walk the ball up the court and run set plays until a shot within 10 feet could be attempted.

“They played well,” Wyatt said. “They did what we wanted them to do. They took control and they didn’t let up.”


Lincoln-West’s coach is Brunswick graduate Nannette Lugo, who was the center fielder for the school’s regional-qualifying softball team in 2006.

• The Wolverines started three freshmen.

• The last time Wadsworth didn’t play a sectional semifinal was 2005.

Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.

Albert Grindle About Albert Grindle

Albert Grindle is a sportswriter for the Gazette. He can be reached at 330-721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.