DIV. IV GIRLS Western Reserve, Lowellville prevail
The two winners advanced to play in Saturday games at Liberty High.
By BOB ROTH
LIBERTY -- A pair of Inter-County League girls basketball teams ousted a pair of Tri-County League teams Wednesday in the Division IV sectional tournament at Liberty High.
Western Reserve, the second seed, took advantage of Columbiana turnovers and the shooting of junior Anna Marie Ricciardi to win 44-25, while in the second game Lowellville held Sebring scoreless in overtime for a 48-43 victory.
In Saturday's games, Western Reserve (13-8) will play Lordstown at 1 p.m., while Lowellville (14-7) will meet Jackson-Milton at 2:30.
Western Reserve-Columbiana: The Clippers (6-15) turned the ball over 17 times in the first half as Western Reserve, with baskets by Jen White and Ricciardi, went out to 4-0 lead and never trailed in the contest.
Ricciardi, a 5-7 junior who averages 16 points a game, scored a game-high 19 points, with seven rebounds and five steals.
"I was happy to get the win with two of our key people out [Jen Hallos and Tiffany Palumbo] and because of that we have been struggling lately, so I knew I had to take advantage of every scoring opportunity," Ricciardi said.
White, a 6-0 junior, scored 10 points, hitting 6 of 9 free throws, and grabbed 10 of her team's 33 rebounds.
"Their players were young and inexperienced so I took advantage of that inside," she said.
Coach Eric Kalina said, "This is a good win, with a big reason being our defensive play as we switched from a 2-3 zone to a man-to-man to stop Columbiana's penetration, and it did the job."
Lowellville-Sebring: The second contest was a contrast to the first as Lowellville had a battle with Sebring (4-17).
With 3:43 left in the fourth quarter, Lowellville led 41-31. But from there, Sebring outscored the Rockets 12-2.
A pair of 3-pointers by Morgan Morris and Morgan Drennen were key to its comeback, but it was the overall play of 5-8 senior Kim Brunie that kept Sebring in the game. She hit a pair of clutch free throws with nine seconds left to tie the score at 43-43 and send it to overtime.
Two foul shots by Amanda Nero at 3:23 of the overtime broke the deadlock, and a field goal by Rebecca Basista with just over a minute to go, after a pair of Sebring turnovers, helped give Lowellville the win.
Freshman Amanda Nero and junior Tami Nero led Lowellville with 15 points and 10 points, respectively.
"I thought we had the game won, but Sebring played tough, forcing us to do things we didn't want to do, such as shooting too soon, and they took away our patient game," Lowellville coach Tony Matisi said.
Brunie scored 19 points and also grabbed 11 rebounds, while Nicole Amabeli scored 10 points, with a game-high 13 boards.
"We had a good effort, with good defense, but we needed more offense," said Sebring coach Don Swegan. "I think we showed people we are better than our record."