Bluejays seek to extend historic run


By Greg Gulas

sports@vindy.com

NORTH JACKSON

When the Jackson-Milton and Willoughby Cornerstone Christian girls basketball teams play tonight in Massillon, the winner will be advancing to the Division IV regional final for the first time.

The Bluejays (23-2) are making their regional debut; the Patriots have been there once before. The Patriots (22-4) have a 10-game win streak.

Jackson-Milton, winners of the Inter-Tri County League Blue Tier, suffered their two losses at home to Columbiana and South Range.

“To be making the school’s first ever regional appearance definitely makes this a very special year for everyone,” said Blue Jays head coach Pat Keney, now in his 28th season. “If you’re one of the final 16 teams still remaining, that means you’re the cream of the crop.

“We’re excited about getting this far, but realize there’s a lot of unfinished business because we want to make the area proud.”

Keney’s starting five will feature: senior forward Olivia Wolfe (6.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 58 steals); junior twin guards Ashley Totani (12.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, 78 steals, 64 assists) and Kaitlyn Totani (11.9 points, 75 assists, 55 steals); sophomores guard Michaelina Terranova (13 points, 4.6 rebounds, 86 steals, 45 assists), a guard; and sophomore forward Emily Williams (4.5 points, 4.8 rebounds).

Wolfe is one of three Blue Jays averaging just under five rebounds per game.

“Last year’s one-point loss to Western Reserve in the district championship game was tough,” Wolfe said. “But it made us realize that we could be district champions this year with hard work and extra effort.

“We’re like family and it has been a real honor to be a part of this very special season.”

With 10 players on the roster, team depth might not rival that of opponents but the quality of that depth, albeit a youthful core, has never been an issue.

Guard Katie Rago (1.3 points) is a junior. The two sophomores are forward Taylor Hayes (2.2 rebounds) and guard Jordan Fitzpatrick (2.1 points). The freshmen are forward Ashley Cameron (1.2 points) and guard Haley Lengyel.

Lengyel, who is recovering from knee surgery, has played in one game.

The Patriots were the four seed at the Grand Valley district.

“We’re a team that likes to apply pressure defensively,” Cornerstone coach Lisa Stopp said. “Like us, [the Bluejays are] a team that likes to apply pressure so we’re expecting a real battle.”

WCCA features seniors Jordan Cloonan (13 points, 3.3 assists, 2.2 steals) and Ashley West (12 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks).

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