By tom williams
Early in the second quarter of Wednesday’s Division IV district semifinal, Lisbon’s Sarah Boyd hit a jump shot to slice Columbiana’s lead to one.
The Blue Devils’ dream of bouncing the Clippers for a second straight year was alive and roaring.
The furor didn’t last long and Columbiana junior guard Baylie Mook was the reason.
Mook scored 12 points in the rest of the quarter as the Clippers outscored the Blue Devils, 18-5, helping them post a 58-50 victory at Mineral Ridge High.
The Clippers (23-2) will face tonight’s winner of the Lordstown-Western Reserve game for a regional trip Saturday. Columbiana split its season series against Western Reserve.
“We’re just so excited,” Mook said of the chance for a regional appearance. “We’re going to play our hardest to try and get there.”
Columbiana’s last regional trip was in 2007.
Mook admitted last year’s 52-40 loss to Lisbon in the district semifinal provided ammunition.
“They left a bitter taste in our mouths and we came back with a vengeance,” said Mook after scoring 26 points. “We were going to win no matter what.”
Mook made two 3-pointers during the second-quarter spurt. Lauren Schlueter, Emily Witmer and Aleah Whitacre had the other baskets.
“We played together,” said Mook of the difference from the opening eight minutes. “We were kind of mixed up in the beginning — normally we start out slow.
“But we come through in the end.”
Trailing 32-18 at halftime, the Blue Devils (8-16) didn’t quit.
“We’re young and at times you’re going to make mistakes, especially against pressure like that,” Lisbon coach Jason Thompson said.
Sixth man Mackenzie Mason took charge in the third quarter, scoring 10 points as Lisbon cut five points off Columbiana’s lead.
“Mackenzie played above and beyond,” Thompson said. “She’s got potential that some don’t [realize] and she played to it tonight.”
Free throws made a huge difference for the Clippers in the final quarter, Columbiana made 10, with Mook sinking five of them.
Boyd’s 14 points included four 3-pointers to lead Lisbon. Karlee Pezzano scored 11 points and Alli Davis 10. Both made key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to keep the Clippers within reach.
“We didn’t play real good defense,” Columbiana head coach Ron Moschella said. “That Boyd confused us — [it seemed] she was shooting [from] the lockerroom.
“I thought she shot the ball well.”
For Columbiana, Witmer made 10 free throws and finished with 18 points while Whitacre scored nine.
“Emily Witmer shot 10 out of 10 at the free-throw line, she was monstrous,” Moschella said. “Baylie Mook, she’s our sparkplug.
“But defensively, I really wasn’t happy with what we were doing and we better shore that up Saturday or we might have a problem.”
Boyd and Jenna Dickson are Lisbon’s seniors whose varsity careers ended.
“There were times we could have given in [but] our girls played hard the whole way through, I can’t [overemphasize] that,” Thompson said.