INTER-COUNTY LEAGUE Lowellville, with 51-47 win, knocks W. Reserve out of first
Laura Bryer's blocked shot led to the Rockets' go-ahead points.
By GARY HOUSTEAU
BERLIN CENTER -- Playing catch-up for almost the entire game, Western Reserve High needed 30 minutes, 41 seconds to grab its first lead, but the Blue Devils couldn't score in the final 1:19 and lost to visiting Lowellville, 51-47, in an Inter-County League girls basketball game on Thursday night.
The loss, combined with South Range's victory over McDonald, dropped Western Reserve (12-6, 10-2) out of a tie for first place in the ICL.
With 27 seconds remaining, Laura Bryer of Lowellville (11-7, 7-5) made the biggest play of the game, when she blocked a shot of Toni Jo Moracco. The Rockets' Danielle Hvisdak grabbed the ball and started the other way when she was fouled with 16.7 seconds to go.
Hvisdak, who finished with nine points, made both free throws to put the Rockets ahead, 49-47.
The Blue Devils turned the ball over with 10.8 seconds remaining and were forced to foul. Two more free throws by Katie Traveline sealed the victory for Lowellville.
"At the end we made a run, but we didn't execute when we had to," Western Reserve coach Erik Kalina said. "They got breaks and we didn't. The ball fell in the basket for them when they needed it, and it didn't for us. But we had our chances.
"Give [Lowellville coach Tony Matisi] credit, his girls played well," Kalina said. "They really pressured our guards and forced us to turn it over."
Miscues: Western Reserve finished with 26 turnovers and also missed a few critical free throws in the fourth quarter that could have changed the outcome of the game.
The Blue Devils made only 11-of-20 attempts at the line for the game, but was 17-of-35 from the field. Lowellville made one more field goal, one more free throw and one more 3-point goal than Western Reserve to provide the winning margin.
"I know it's better when you win, but we're really happy about the way we played as visitors on the court, having a lead and watching it disappear, and then coming back and getting the victory," Matisi said. "We've never done that before."
Matisi was proud of his girls for the way they hung in despite the momentum shifting against them late in the game.
"When they got the lead, we went to a spread offense to use our speed to get buckets or fouls, and it happened that way," Matisi said. "For once it worked."
The win gives Lowellville some momentum as it gears for the postseason.
"We want to keep rolling into the tournament," Matisi said. "We want to be playing our best basketball going into the tournament, and this win helps us to get into tournament shape."
Foul problems: As soon as Western Reserve went in front 47-46, its wheels began to fall off. With Jen White already seated on the Blue Devils' bench with five fouls, Anna Marie Ricciardi, who led all scorers with 18 points, picked up her fifth as well when she fouled Rebecca Basista under the bucket.
With 44 seconds remaining, Basista, who had nine points and six rebounds, made one of two free throws to tie the score at 47.
Amanda Nero was the leading scorer for the Rockets with 16 points.
Jen Hallos had 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Kim Morrison finished with seven points and five rebounds for the Blue Devils.