DIVISION I GIRLS Howland breezes to sectional crown

The Tigers defeated Fitch to advance against Boardman in a district semifinal.
ALLIANCE -- Senior guard Meredith Schneider scored her team's first seven points, and Howland High went on 13-0 run on the way to a 63-33 victory over Austintown Fitch, in a girls Division I sectional basketball tournament final at Alliance High School Saturday night.
The Tigers, the fourth seed, advanced to a district semifinal next Thursday to play Boardman, which defeated Massillon in Saturday's second game.
Fitch's Shae Savnik sank a 3-pointer, the only one of the contest, to cut Howland's lead to 8-7 with 39 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
But Howland's Darcy Quinlan scored her only field goal of the period with 11 seconds remaining. The next Fitch score came at the 3:20 mark of the second quarter on Meghan McDermott's field goal. In between, the Tigers had their 13-0 run to lead 21-7.
Quinlan scores 18
Darcy Quinlan, who finished as the game's top scorer with 18 points, had an eight-point quarter and Schneider had five assists during the 13-0 run.
Howland's defense held the Falcons to single-digit scoring through the first three quarters for a 30-11 lead at halftime, and 42-20 after three periods.
Fitch also played well defensively, forcing 18 turnovers, but the Falcons had 21 miscues of their own.
Howland out-rebounded Fitch 44-37.
Quinlan, who also had 11 rebounds, four blocked shots, five assists and five steals, praised the Falcons for their tough defensive play.
"Fitch came out playing hard and never stopped all night, which is why you have to get up for every tournament game," she said.
Meredith, who had seven assists to go along with nine points, added, "A good start was important for us."
Kristy Krezeczowski also had nine points for the Tigers (18-4).
Second-quarter surge
"Fitch concentrated on stopping Darcy Quinlan, especially in the first half, but a good second quarter run with us doing a lot of things right on the floor did the job for us," said Howland coach John Diehl.
About playing Boardman, Diehl added, "We had two summer and two fall scrimmages with them so we are excited to play them.
"If we can stop Amber Bland or she has a bad night, who knows, we just might have a shot to win," he added.
The Falcons (2-19) were paced by Savnik's nine points and Katie White's eight points. Krista Mayes, a 6-foot-1 freshman, pulled down nine of her team's 37 rebounds.
"These kids never quit," said Fitch coach Dave Ward. "They hustled, dove for loose balls and played hard, but shots just wouldn't fall for them, which doesn't take anything away from their incredible work ethic."

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