By Dan pompili
West Branch and Ravenna easily advanced Wednesday night in Division II girls high school basketball sectional at Fitch.
In the first game of the night, the Warriors slayed the Leopards 76-29. The Ravens followed with a 67-24 drubbing of the Eagles.
In both cases, the winners didn’t need much help, but Liberty and Hubbard both contributed to their own demises with a disproportionate amount of turnovers.
Liberty (5-17) couldn’t keep the ball in their possession and it seemed that every time they turned it over, West Branch’s Melinda Trimmer made them pay the price.
Trimmer burned the Leopards for 15 points in the first half. Asked at the break if his team had any plan to stop Trimmer, Liberty coach Ron DeJulio said, “We thought we had one.”
When they did slow Trimmer in the second half, teammates Pavin Heath and Amanda Linhart simply made up the difference.
“A credit to Melinda and Pavin, they were very patient and still ended up being our leading scorers,” said Warriors coach Walt DeShields, whose team improved to 21-2. “We’re getting a lot of contribution from some other players now, and teams are going to find it’s harder to just take those two out of the game.”
West Branch’s 3-point shooting only added to the Leopards’ frustrations from a 22-7 turnover differential. The Warriors dumped seven 3s on Liberty, including four in the fourth quarter, already up 60-23.
“We just couldn’t defend all the 3,” DeJulio said. “You couldn’t cover them, you cover one you leave the others open and then they’re hitting them. We knew we were going to have trouble with their shooters.”
Trimmer had 19 points, followed by Heath with 14 and Linhart with 12. Rachel Crum led Liberty with 15.
In game two, Hubbard (7-16) simply had no answer for a Ravenna team that scored at will.
The Ravens (17-6) made use of 40 turnovers by the Eagles to go on several runs.
Hubbard shot 8-of-37 from the field. Ten Ravenna players contributed to a 28-of-45 performance.
“We’ve had two starters out, Alena Burzynski and Justine Goldner,” Hubbard coach Kacie Mosora said. “Justine’s our big girl and she’s our answer underneath. Our girls started trying to play at their tempo and that hurt us.”
Ravenna already led 37-13 at halftime and started the second half with a 20-0 run.
“We started a little slow, and got going in the second quarter, I thought,” Ravenna coach Sonny Tilden said. “We like to move fast and get long passes.”