By Greg Gulas
Last season, the Austintown Fitch girls basketball team won its first six games en route to a 17-6 record.
After topping Cardinal Mooney Saturday for their 10th consecutive win, the Falcons remain a confident group that feels the best is yet to come.
Megan Sefcik had a game-high 22 points while Maura Bianco added 10 markers as the Falcons posted a 52-39 win over Cardinal Mooney at the Cardinals’ gymnasium.
“We’ve worked really hard to get to this point so winning the first 10 games of the season is a huge accomplishment,” Sefcik said. “The key now will be to just keep improving each and every game.
“Today we wanted to push the ball, beat their zone and not let them get set,” Sefcik said. “We wanted to control the boards with Maura [Bianco] doing an excellent job underneath at both ends of the court.”
A triple by Renee Santisi helped the Cardinals to the early 4-1 advantage. When Jaclyn Yankle connected with the first of her 13 points, the Cardinals (4-4) knotted the score at 8-apiece.
The Falcons then surged.
Sefcik’s 10 first-quarter points helped the Falcons (10-0) to a 17-8 lead.
The Falcons’ defense took over as they held the Cardinals scoreless for the next 6:29, going on a 15-0 run.
“We have a great group of seniors who have been through it all,” Falcons coach Stacie Cepin said. “Those five seniors are great kids, come from great families and collectively have a 3.7 grade point average in the classroom.
“We’re coming together more and more as a unit each time out,” Cepin said. “We didn’t play our best, but take nothing away from Cardinal Mooney because they slowed us down and were a big reason for the way we played.
“Megan is the only player in the area that gets beaten up and never complains while Maura gave us a great effort and some key second-chance points.”
A triple by Yankle cut the Falcons’ lead to 34-22, but six points by Sefcik to close the third quarter gave the Falcons a 40-24 lead.
Cardinal Mooney outscored Fitch, 15-12 in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late as the Falcons posted their sixth consecutive road win.
“We had a great overall effort today, but hurt ourselves by failing to box out,” Mooney coach Bill Ritter said. “Give Fitch credit because they are a very good team.
“We may have been a little tight at the outset, but turnovers and a scoring drought between the first and second quarter surely didn’t help.”