Howland, Harding eliminated in Div. I
SHAKER HTS. 58
Next: Shaker Hts. vs. Twinsburg, Saturday, 1 p.m., at Warrensville Hts. High School
By John Bassetti
The Division I games were close and not-so-close on Thursday night.
Twinsburg romped over Warren Harding, 57-25, while Howland (21-2) was ousted by Shaker Heights, 58-56, in the Warrensville High district.
Top-seeded Twinsburg (22-0) won the district the last two years.
“The girls gave a great effort, but they couldn’t come through against a nationally-ranked team, that’s all there’s to it,” said Harding (16-6) coach P.J. Notar.
“They’re good at every position, they’re very disciplined and they beat us back in transition,” Notar said. “We kept the big girl [Malina Howard] in check and we were hoping to guard the miss [missed field goals], but that didn’t happen.”
Howard had 14 points, while Leah Fechko had 12 and Ashley Morrissette 10 for the Tigers.
Anita Brown’s 11 points led Harding, which fell behind, 8-0, and didn’t score until Brown made a layup with 1:05 remaining in the first period.
Shaker Heights and Twinsburg played in the district championship game in 2010 and the teams played earlier this season with Twinsburg winning, 69-56.
Chyress Lockhart’s off-balance layup at the buzzer won the game for Shaker Heights (17-4). Howland’s Taylor Williams had a game-high 26 points, while Lockhart’s 20 led the Red Raiders.
“We knew that was going to happen, but they kind of lost who they were supposed to be guarding there at the end,” Howland coach John Diehl said of what he expected on Shaker Heights’ final drive. “I didn’t mind Taylor being on [Jordyn] Peck because she couldn’t shoot over Taylor, but some of the other people weren’t guarding the right people at the right time.”
Diehl said his Tigers were covering the inside, but the Red Raiders’ athleticism won out.
“We had people in the paint all night, but they’re just very athletic and very quick and they went in.”
That penetration took its toll on Howland.
“You can’t man them off [cover them man-to-man], so we were playing a defense where everybody’s got to keep a foot in the paint unless you’re guarding No. 23 [Lockhart] or Peck.”
Diehl thought Howland’s first-half defense was good, but, he added: “I don’t know how you stop speed.”
Williams had 14 points in the first half.
Howland’s 41-38 lead after three quarters came when Erika Nites made 3-point goal with 30 seconds remaining.
Williams did some little things to enable the Tigers to keep their lead in the fourth period, like tapping loose balls to teammates that turned into points on Howland’s end, like a basket by Nites for a 47-44 lead.
Shaker Heights tied the game at 53-all on Danae Rock’s 3-pointer with 2:49 left.
The game became intense in the last two minutes when Williams made one of two free throw attempts for a 54-53 lead before Chyress Lockhart’s layup put Shaker Heights up, 55-54. Peck made one free throw to give the Red Raiders a 56-54 edge at 1:03. Redon tied the game 56-56, on a short jumper with 40 seconds left before Lockhart made her game-winner.