Fitch girls avenge earlier loss to Canfield
By Gary Housteau
In an All-American Conference Red Tier battle that was closer than the final margin indicated, Austintown Fitch pulled away in the second half to avenge an earlier loss to Canfield with a 40-28 victory.
Call it a defensive struggle, as both teams shot very low percentages from the field. Both teams’ centers, Sabria Hunter from Fitch and Brittany Coonce from Canfield, fouled out as well.
“I’m really proud of the defensive effort they gave,” Fitch head coach Dan Schnurrenberger said. “To give up six in the first, 14 in the second, 28 points total, you will win basketball games doing that. And it was a slow start offensively, we just couldn’t put the ball in the hoop and you’re going to have days like that.”
After a quick 4-0 start by Canfield, Fitch led 10-6 at the end of the first quarter. After going up by as much as seven in the second quarter, the Falcons took a 16-14 lead into the locker room. Fitch led by as much as nine in the third quarter.
The Falcons finally put some distance in the lead in the final quarter.
“We came out with some energy in the second half and our offense is going to go through our defense on most nights,” Schnurrenberger said. “I think some of the confidence that kept building up defensively helped put the ball in the hoop for us a couple of times starting off the third quarter.”
Fitch senior Natalie Lynn was the most consistent performer for the Falcons. She scored nine points, eight in the second half, and added eight rebounds.
“Natalie Lynn is an awesome girl and an awesome leader, probably the best I’ve been around,” Schnurrenberger said. “And with girls like that on your team, it’s great to coach and it’s great for the other girls to witness and see a leader like that.”
Lynn was certainly satisfied with the effort against Canfield, especially after losing to them earlier in the season.
“I thought we played really good, especially after what happened last game. It was definitely on our minds,” she said.
Canfield’s size seemed to give Fitch some trouble inside, but in addition to Lynn’s numbers, Sabria Hunter managed to get 10 points and seven boards while Gia DiFrancesco added eight points and five rebounds.
“I really had to focus on finishing inside so that was my goal,” Lynn said. “They had big girls that could guard us inside so it was just a matter of getting used to that and getting the ball inside and finishing.”
Canfield’s head coach Matt Reel thought his team fought hard all game.
“I told the girls we’ll never be about moral victories but we really couldn’t ask anything more of our girls,” Reel said. “I think the game came down to they made some shots and we didn’t.”
He had a few reasons to be happy with his team.
“I was really happy with our defense on Sabria (Hunter), she’s an outstanding player,” Reel said. “I thought (freshman) Grace Mangapora did an outstanding job defensively and I think our whole team did. I thought we had some chances to get the lead if we made some shots and we just weren’t able to do that. And they capitalized at the foul line.”