By Dan Pompili
Lowellville won decisively in a Division IV sectional opener Saturday at South Range High School. But for a few moments, it seemed nobody had explained to Sebring (4-18) how the script was supposed to read.
The Trojans jumped on the Rockets (19-3) from the tip-off and shocked them for an 8-0 run that lasted more than half the quarter, before Lowellville found their bearings en route to a 62-31 win.
“Yes, I was scared the first couple of minutes,” Lowellville coach Tony Matisi said. “Jitters, nerves, yeah. I didn’t want to call timeout though. I wanted to let them work through it, and fortunately we did.”
And how. The Rockets responded with several takeaways that led to their own 17-2 run to end the first period. The second quarter went on much the same way as Lowellville dropped 19 to Sebring’s six, and carried a comfortable 36-16 lead into the half.
That seemed to get the Rockets off the ground and they coasted through space for the rest of the game, holding the Trojans to single digits in both of the last two quarters, outscoring them 26-13 as the clock wound down on Sebring’s challenging season.
“We started off fast, but they started pressing us and our youth really showed up,” said Sebring coach Joe Eaton.
Kaye Solak led the Rockets with 20, including an 18-point first half, and Maddie Opritza added 12 for the victors. Kelsi Settle led the Trojans with 18 points.
Lowellville will meet Western Reserve in the next round.