Ursuline's Grant 14 points shy of Valley record
The Irish face twice-beaten Waterloo on Wednesday at Cuyahoga Falls.
VINDICATOR STAFF REPORT
YOUNGSTOWN -- If Ursuline senior Tyra Grant continues to score points at the 30-per-game pace she's set this season, she'll become the Mahoning Valley's all-time leading scorer at about halftime of her next game.
Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. at Cuyahoga Falls High School, Grant's Fighting Irish (19-4) will play Waterloo (21-2) in the Division III regional tournament.
The winner will play the winner of Wednesday's 8 p.m. game between the Associated Press' top-ranked South Euclid Regina (23-1) and eighth-ranked Garfield Heights Trinity (20-4).
After scoring 35 points in Ursuline's 58-38 victory over Brookfield in the United High district final, Grant has 2,176 varsity points.
Fourteen points ahead of her is 2004 Boardman graduate Amber Bland, who finished her four-year varsity career with 2,190.
Two other girls have scored more than 2,000 points -- Ursuline's Courtney Davidson with 2,066 in 2004 and Canfield's Jenny Kulics with 2,114 in 1992.
Saturday against Brookfield, Ursuline struggled a bit before clicking.
Sloppy play early
"It was a sloppy first quarter, but in the second quarter we cleaned it up a little bit and straighten things," said Ursuline coach Sean Durkin who has guided the Irish to six straight regional appearances and seven in eight seasons.
Brookfield led, 10-8, after the opening quarter.
"In the first quarter, we did not play up to our potential, probably because of nerves because it was a championship game," said Grant. "Just because we've been here a lot doesn't mean it's not important and we could look over this game."
Grant and senior Vannessa Dickson were regulars on Ursuline's 2004 team that won the state championship.
"It will be a hard-fought battle from here on out," Dickson said. "Our team is very experienced -- we start four seniors and a junior."
Dickson said Saturday's slow start "was one of those things where we were waiting for our spurt. We have them periodically. Once we have that we know there's no looking back."
In recent seasons, Waterloo has competed with Girard for runner-up status with at the Rootstown tournament. Until this year, Regina was the dominant team at Rootstown. This year, Regina was sent to the Pymatuning Valley district.
Durkin said Waterloo is "a good team with a good post player and a lot of tradition. They know how to win so they certainly are a concern."
Two other Mahoning Valley teams are making their first regional appearances in several years.
Tigers, Devils ready
In Div. II, Howland (20-4), winner of the Austintown Fitch High district, will play Mentor Lake Catholic (14-10) at Barberton High School tonight at 8.
The opening game at Barberton pits Minerva (18-6) plays Bay Village (21-3).
Howland's last regional appearance came in 2001 when the Tigers were a Div. I team. They were ousted by Boardman in the regional semifinal at the Canton Civic Center.
In Div. IV, McDonald (22-1) will travel to Massillon Perry High on Thursday to play Bedford St. Peter Chanel at 8 p.m.
The opening game has Mansfield St. Peter's (18-5) playing East Canton (21-2 and AP's number seven team).
St. Peter's has won the regional the last four years, including 37-34 over Lowellville in 2005.
"We just wanted to get out of the district," McDonald coach Rob Hilbun said. "We are excited to be there."