Columbiana girls stays unbeaten


By ERIC FORTUNE

sports@vindy.com

COLUMBIANA

After three quarters of play, it seemed the Columbiana Clippers had shown why they were undefeated.

They had forced the Lisbon Blue Devils into a deficit that seemed much too big to overcome. They were already playing shorthanded with Chloe Smith (broken foot) and Izzy Perez (concussion) both out.

Instead, the Clippers had to hang on for dear life as they edged Lisbon 68-62 in an Inter-Tri County League, White Tier matchup.

“It affected the way we like to play,” Lisbon coach Jamie Entrikin said. “We’re obviously trying to conserve energy playing in a half court instead of a full court. When the game got away from us a little bit, we decided to just go do what we do and we sort of dug our way back in.

“That’s what we like to do. That’s what we want to do. If we’d have done that in the first quarter, we’d have been out of gas by halftime. We just didn’t have our normal rotation.”

Columbiana (15-0) had opened a 53-36 advantage after three quarters and seemed in control, but matters got dicey when Columbiana’s Kennedy Fullum fouled out with 5:54 to play.

“Our big loss was Kennedy,” Columbiana coach Ron Moschella said. “We had them going — with her and [Alexis] Cross. When she went out of the game, she heard a few things from me because she got that technical that cost us. It hurts when she is out of the game.

“That’s when that lead started to crumble. It was crumbling quickly. I kept calling timeouts. Kids were in the wrong spots.”

Lisbon (11-1) kept chipping away at the Clippers’ lead, getting it as close as 63-60 after a Mackenzie Mason bucket with under two minutes to play.

Mason and teammate Karlee Pezzano were instrumental, scoring 16 of the Blue Devils’ 26 fourth-quarter points.

Pezzano’s bucket with 3:32 to play gave her 1,000 points in her career with Lisbon. She led the Blue Devils with 20 points.

“It’s been a goal of mine,” Pezzano said. “Nobody gets more credit than my teammates. I’m just excited to reach the goal finally.”

Pezzano would have preferred to reach the miletone in a victory.

“We knew there were no excuses,” she said. “It didn’t stop us from thinking we were going to win. We just ran out of time.”

Freshman Kayla Muslovski led the Clippers with 20 points. Her 3-pointer at the 6:51 mark of the third quarter gave Columbiana its first double-digit lead of the game.

“She’s a heck of a player,” Moschella said. “She has a natural instinct for basketball and she loves the game. She really does. Sometimes she makes a poor decision, but she’s a freshman. I told her we’ll put up with freshman mistakes. We won’t put up with senior mistakes.”

The teams will meet up again in 21 days to see where they stand as this game showed that it could essentially go either way.

“This gave us an idea that we’re not as bad as we think we are, but at the same time it tells us we’re not as good as we think we are,” Moschella said. “It could have easily been them, but this time it was us.”

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