The Eagles' height and Lynle Cornell's defense worked in concert in the 59-44 victory.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
HUBBARD -- Newton Falls High girls basketball coach Kelly Nelson needed one word to describe the Tigers' shooting performance on Thursday night against Hubbard.
"Ugly," she said.
Newton Falls shot 16-for-57 (28 percent) from the floor and was 10-of-21 (48 percent) at the foul line.
Add it up, and Hubbard earned a word of its own -- revenge.
Katy Jo Mroski scored 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Eagles (13-2, 10-1) avenged their only Trumbull Athletic Conference loss with a 59-44 win.
"They came out strong last time," said Eagle junior Jami Duvall, who had 16 points, five assists and four rebounds. "This time, we were ready for them."
Hubbard, which lost to the Tigers 51-47 on Dec. 10, stayed tied with Girard atop the TAC standings.
No 'R' word: "We didn't talk about revenge," Hubbard coach Dave Konczal said. "You can get so caught up in revenge that you shoot yourself in the foot. We just wanted to keep pace with Girard."
The Eagles beat the Indians 61-56 in overtime on Jan. 3 and will play at Girard on Feb. 7.
Newton Falls dropped its third straight and likely dropped out of TAC title contention.
"We didn't say anything [about revenge], but this might have been the hardest week of practice we've had this season," Mroski said. "We were mentally focused."
Hubbard used a 9-0 run midway through the first quarter to take a 13-5 lead after one. The Tigers went on a 12-4 run midway through the second quarter to cut their deficit to 20-17, but the Eagles scored the final three points to lead 23-17 at halftime.
Newton Falls stayed close during the third quarter, but couldn't get closer than four points. Junior Desiree Sterling scored the Tigers' first seven points of the fourth quarter as Newton Falls cut its deficit to 50-43 with three minutes remaining.
The Tigers would not get any closer -- missing their last seven shots from the field.
"The last three games, we haven't had good first halves," Nelson said. "We could have dropped over and said forget it, but we didn't."
Sterling finished with 27 points and seven rebounds. No other Tiger finished in double figures.
Lynle Cornell had eight points and eight rebounds for Hubbard. The Eagles start two players over 6-feet -- Mroski and Jill Phillips -- while the tallest Tiger starter is 5-8.
Predictably, the Eagles owned the boards, out-rebounding Newton Falls 45-22.
Cornell's coverage: "For how small [the Tigers] are, they're very physical," Konczal said. "I think the biggest thing for us was putting Lynle Cornell on Kellie Drake. Drake hit us for 22 [points] last time."
Drake scored two on Thursday.
"We thought this game was very important because we didn't want to go into Girard one game down," Konczal said. "We don't think anyone else in the league will beat them."