Sefcik, Thompson lead offense
By Ryan Buck
Basketball minds often emphasize the importance of strong guard play when predicting success for the teams they study.
In the Mahoning Valley, one should look no further than the Lady Falcons of Austintown Fitch.
Junior shooting guard Megan Sefcik and senior point guard Brenda Thompson combined for 21 points to lead the Falcons to a 52-17 victory over Girard Monday night at the Fitch High gymnasium.
The Falcons jumped out to a 17-2 lead after one quarter and led 36-8 at halftime to put the game out of reach early.
Outside shots weren’t falling early for coach Stacie Cepin’s squad, but they controlled the offensive glass, leading to put-back opportunities.
“One of our goals is to out-rebound our opponent every single game,” Cepin said. “We take pride in that and you can see all the different kids getting in there and battling.”
Fitch out-rebounded the Indians, 33-26.
From behind, junior forwards Sarah Melfie, Maura Bianco and Sefcik will swoop in from the perimeter to gather defensive rebounds and facilitate fast breaks.
“That’s something that’s definitely going to give us second shots and defensively getting the rebound and getting out and running,” Cepin said.
A versatile 5-foot-9 combo guard, Sefcik, who collected eight rebounds and dished out five assists Monday, has a knack for finding open teammates even when she’s at full-speed.
“We have a lot of fast people,” Sefcik said of a line-up that goes at least eight-deep. “With our quickness, it puts a lot of pressure on people.
“We work great together as a team. It’s not individually. It’s a team effort with everyone we have.”
The only player on the floor who might be able to beat Sefcik down the court in transition is her teammate, Thompson. At 5-foot-6, Thompson possesses elite quickness few in the area can match.
Off the dribble, she’s very effective.
“I try to draw the defense to one side so I can kick it back to the other side,” Thompson said. “That’s basically my game plan. We keep the ball moving without standing a lot.
“That’s how we get easy shots.”
As adept as she is at driving and passing, she’s not afraid to take shots. On one possession, she’ll pull up for a short jumper. The next, it’s a high-arching 3-pointer.
A bank-shot off the glass from the top of the arc pushed the Falcons’ lead to 31-4 in the second quarter.
“My coaches have belief in me and they gave me the go-ahead where if I feel like I have a shot, take it,” Thompson said.
After two years of building a young team into form, Cepin sees a bright future for this year’s Fitch group.
“We’ve had a group now together for a few years,” said Cepin, now in her fourth year at Austintown. “With them sticking together, working together, preparing together, they know each other.”
Alasjia Dykes led the way for Girard with four points and seven rebounds.