New Fitch coach gets first win
By ERIC FORTUNE
It was an offseason of change for the Austintown Fitch girls basketball program when previous coach Stacie Cepin stepped down after seven successful seasons.
Then to make matters even more interesting, water damage warped the gym floor beyond repair over the summer.
Still, despite all of that, the Austintown Fitch Falcons didn’t miss a beat in their 57-15 victory over the Hubbard Eagles in an All-American Conference contest Tuesday night.
Not bad for a group that lost out on shooting, but their energy was instrumental in jumping out to a 23-3 lead after one quarter.
“A little adrenaline boost coming out was nice,” Austintown Fitch coach Dan Schnurrenberger said. “We came out pretty aggressive and then we started reaching a little too much and weren’t moving our feet as much.”
Natalie Lynn had 14 points to lead all scorers and Sabia Hunter added 12 points as the Falcons 10-of-17 shooting in the opening quarter coupled with their length caused major issues for the Eagles (0-1) with just seven field goal attempts in the opening quarter.
“It took us out of our game,” Hubbard coach Ray DeLuco said. “We had to change the game plan. It was 6-3 at one time and they just went on that run. We had to change things up. They have a great team. They’re big, quick, fast, and well coached.”
The Falcons (1-0) pushed their advantage out to 38-6 at halftime, but saw the Eagles change up things in the second half to cause some struggles on the offensive end.
Hubbard, though, struggled to mount much on offense themselves with Annie DeLuco leading the Eagles with five points and five rebounds.
“When we did our adjustments at halftime, we told them all they have to do is move – don’t stand still and watch the game,” DeLuco said. Once we did that, we still had some problems with their size advantage, but our big’s did well underneath and were able to box out, though there is only so much you can do with their size.”
The Eagles still held their own on the glass with the Falcons holding just a 30 to 27 advantage in rebounds.
“We have a long team and we need to take advantage of that,” Schnurrenberger said. “We need to use our length to the best of our ability.”
It was a positive way to open a season full of high expectations for the Falcons after a 14-9 season last year and only losing two players to graduation.
“She (Stacie Cepin) did an excellent job here for seven years,” Schnurrenberger said. “It has been seamless. We’re trying to take this to the next level. The seniors worked hard and deserved to come out with a win tonight.”