The Falcons trailed 25-18 at halftime before rallying for their second conference win.
By CHUCK HOUSTEAU
AUSTINTOWN -- Austintown Fitch High's Kim Buhro scored 19 of her 21 points in the second half Thursday to fuel a 48-46 come-from-behind victory over Cardinal Mooney in a Steel Valley Conference girls basketball game.
The Falcons (7-5, 2-2 SVC) took their first lead since the opening seconds of the game, 42-40, on a basket by Megan Geidner with 2 minutes, 29 seconds remaining in the game.
Buhro scored the last six Fitch points on a basket and four free throws, the last of which came with 27.5 seconds to go, giving the Falcons a 48-44 lead.
Mooney (6-5, 0-4) senior Lori Patrone sank two free throws with 14.4 seconds remaining, and after Fitch's Stephanie Johnson missed two free throws with 13.6 seconds to go, the Cardinals had a chance to tie or win.
But Patrone missed a short jumper and Aieshya Dixon misfired on a rebound shot.
Pep talk: "We told our girls at halftime that they had to step it up in the second half," Falcons coach Mary Ann McGahagan said. "We didn't play our kind of basketball in the first half."
The player that McGahagan challenged was Buhro. The senior is the team's leading scorer but has struggled in the last couple of games and had just two points at halftime.
"We told her that it was time for her to play her game." McGahagan said. "We ran some good offensive half-court sets to get her some good open looks and she knocked [the shots] down."
Fitch trailed 25-18 at halftime, but Buhro scored the first six points of the third quarter as the Falcons pulled to within three points, 27-24.
Mooney led 31-28 entering the fourth quarter, but Coach Roy Nard was disappointed with the team's effort after that.
"Lack of fundamentals in the final quarter cost us the game," he said.
Extra chances: Mooney twice failed to block out on foul shots, allowing the Falcons several second- and third-chance shots. The Cardinals also made some bad passes, enabling the Falcons to get a critical three-point play down the stretch.
Dixon and Anastasia Vouvalis started strong for Mooney, accounting for 17 first half points.
"That was probably the best 16 minutes of basketball that we are capable of playing," Nard said.
Fitch did a much better job with its 2-3 zone defense in the second half and limited Dixon and Vouvalis to just five points combined.
"We were much more aggressive defensively in the second half." McGahagan said.
Fitch held a 38-28 edge in rebounds. Buhro had 13 rebounds, Katie McDermott had nine and Dawn Simpson added seven.
Dixon led the Cardinals with 14 points and 11 rebounds while Vouvalis, Megan Maloney and Karla Fedina all tallied eight points.