Fullum’s grit inspires Clippers past Devils
By Tom Williams
Not even a small fracture in Columbiana sophomore Kennedy Fullum’s lower leg could keep her from playing against Lisbon for a third time.
Her grit helped propel the undefeated Clippers to Wednesday’s 63-57 victory in the Division III district semifinals at Struthers Fieldhouse.
“I knew I was going to play when they told me I had a fracture,” Fullum said.
But it wasn’t quite that easy. Columbiana coach Ron Moschella said she wasn’t cleared until her parents signed a waiver.
“She wanted to play,” Moschella said, adding she did well under the circumstances. “She couldn’t push off her left foot.”
It wasn’t easy for Fullum or the Clippers, who won their 25th consecutive game and third against the Blue Devils (19-6).
“There was a couple of times where I had to take a second and stop, take a breath,” Fullum said, describing the pain as “throbbing.”
What made things easier was watching freshman guard Kayla Muslovski pester the Blue Devils with multiple steals and layups.
“I play in the back of our defense, she gets a steal and I take a couple of steps just in case,” Fullum said. “Then she makes [the basket] and I’m like ‘cool.’
“When she gets a steal, I get so excited. It shows how we keep pushing no matter [the score].”
Muslovski led the Clippers with 20 points. Alexis Cross scored 17, Mariah Rovnak 11 and Fullum nine.
“Muslovski made some big plays to make us go ahead,” Moschella said. “I thought we played not our best offense — we just weren’t thinking.
“We’re going to have to work on that.”
Seniors Mackenzie Mason and Karlee Pezzano led the Blue Devils with 18 and 16 points, respectively.
The second Columbiana-Lisbon game was a 98-97 double-overtime victory for the Clippers. The rematch was another back-and-forth affair until late in the fourth quarter when Mason was called for a charge, her fourth personal foul.
“It gave us a great lift,” said Moschella, praising Tessa Liggett for standing still to draw the charge. “She got crunched, but that was a big turnaround.”
Trailing 46-43, Lisbon coach Jamie Entrikin sat his post player, who had scored nine points in the third quarter.
“It was a momentum changer [but] we did OK,” Entrikin said. “It always hurts when you lose the girl in the middle [but] Maddie [Liberati] did OK when she was in.”
Muslovski scored two layups to open the fourth quarter for a 50-43 lead.
The Blue Devils didn’t fade, posting a 5-0 run when Mason returned to slice the lead to 56-55.
But five consecutive free throws by the Clippers put the game out of reach.
The Clippers made of 27 of 32 free throw attempts while the Blue Devils went 12 for 22.
“We missed a lot of free throws,” Entrikin said.
Up next for Columbiana is Ursuline, Moschella’s alma mater.
“I played at Ursuline, I sat on the bench,” Moschella said. “That [brings] back memories.
“It’s going to be a good game,” he said. “They are a lot more athletic than us, so we’ve got to play with our heads.”