The Rockets' Christen Clemson had 27 points. In Niles, Stacia Ray broke a school record with 12 steals
By SAL MARINO
MECCA -- The Maplewood High girls basketball team was assured of a tie for the East Suburban Conference championship after defeating Bristol 55-45 Wednesday.
The Rockets (13-6, 12-1 ESC) snapped Bristol's (10-6, 8-4) seven game-winning streak.
"Early in the game, my team played with some nervousness," Maplewood coach Mark Yoder said. "Bristol is always tough for us even when we play them here. We knew what was at stake and when we did execute offensively we finally got off some good shots."
Neither team was sharp as Maplewood managed a 21-16 halftime lead. Christen Clemson scored 11 of her game-high 27 points in the first half to lead the Rockets.
Bristol's Katie Leasure had 10 points in the first half and finished with a team-high 19 points -- including four 3-pointers.
Cutting deficit: The Panthers cut the deficit to two points, 23-21, early in the third quarter before Maplewood went on a 14-4 run to end the quarter.
Clemson scored nine points to give in the quarter.
"After the first quarter, I told the kids to pick it up a notch and they responded by scoring a little better," Yoder said. "Both teams were very aggressive on defense which caused a lot of foul shots."
In the final period, Bristol out-scored Maplewood 20-18. Leasure had six of her points in the final period. Nikki Rowles scored six of her 11 points in the fourth quarter.
Maplewood shot 20-for-47 from the field (43 percent) and was 15-of-26 at the free throw line.
Bristol struggled offensively, shooting just 11-for-48 (23 percent). The Panthers sank 18 of 25 foul shots.
Southington 50, Lordstown 28: SOUTHINGTON -- Lindsay Byer scored 14 of her 18 points in the first half as Southington raced out to a 21-8 lead.
Melissa Smith added 11 points for Southington (8-9, 6-6 ESC). Courtney Pelyak led Lordstown (4-11, 4-8) with eight points.
Niles 54, Struthers 53, OT: NILES -- Michelle Rhodes converted an offensive rebound into the winning points, just before the final buzzer in overtime.
Rhodes finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Red Dragons (5-11, 1-6 Metro Athletic Conference). Stacia Ray led Niles with 19 points and she broke a school record with 12 steals. Bree Longberry scored 13 points.
Struthers (5-11, 1-6) was led by Laura Berry with 20 points and Kristy Marapese with 13.