Leetonia’s season ended by Newton Falls
NEWTON FALLS — The Newton Falls girls basketball team won a Division IV sectional bracket final, 60-33, against Leetonia on Saturday. The victory propels the Tigers into the District semifinals at Mineral Ridge, where they will meet Western Reserve on Wednesday at 6.
” I thought we were a little sloppy at times today,” Newton Falls coach Mark Baker said. “We had some careless turnovers. Leetonia did a nice job getting out in transition. We were a little out of position at times in transition. We struggled with free throw shooting. Our rebounding got better as the game went on. Overall, it was a pretty good performance.
“We’ve never played an actual game against Western Reserve. I’ve been here 15 years, we’ve never played them. We play them in the summertime, in summer league. I know them well. They’re just down the road. It’ll be exciting.”
First, Newton Falls (15-8) had to dispose of Leetonia (15-9). The Tigers got out to a quick start, taking a 17-8 lead into the second quarter. Fouls and turnovers plagued both teams as they completed the first half.
Haleigh Brock swished a 3-pointer, Megan Rosko scored down low and Tarah Ferry hit a jumper as the Bears kept it close in the second quarter.
“Newton Falls is well-coached,” Leetonia coach John Hritz said. “They’re a nice ball club. They dropped from Division III to Division IV which makes a big difference. We were overpowered with their size and they’re a great shooting team. They outplayed us.
“I’m proud of the kids though. They never quit.”
Jalynn Nicholas went strong for a rebound. Bree Hutson (11 points) had an assist to Madison Haidet, who nailed a 3-pointer from the corner. Then, Haidet finished off the first half with a wonderful reverse lay-up at the buzzer, giving Newton Falls a 30-18 halftime advantage.
Haidet, a junior, began the third by hitting another one from downtown. She finished with three 3-pointers and a game-high 19 points for the Tigers.
“We worked really well as a team,” Haidet said. “We put the pressure on them. We passed the ball well. Our free throws were pretty poor, but other than that we did pretty good overall.”
The Tigers shot just 46 percent (12 of 26) from the line. Courtney Hankins (13 points) took the ball to the hoop in the third quarter. Hutson had a huge block and Nicholas laid it up and in.
Senior Anna Buffone (team-high 11 points) had a steal and a lay-up, and Ella Gregorino hit a shot from long distance for Leetonia, but Newton Falls took a 47-26 lead to the fourth.
Hutson made a brilliant pass to Hankins who couldn’t finish. Hankins redeemed herself by pulling down another board and completing an and-one. Seniors Allison Sembach and Alyssa Dangerfield displayed their leadership down the stretch for the Tigers.
Zoe McElrath had a rebound, Lexie Drake hit a jump shot, and Shelby Fowler’s hustle helped close out the victory for Newton Falls.
The Tigers are the 3 seed. Western Reserve is the 2 seed in the next round.
” It’s going to be a good match-up,” Haidet said. ” We’re going to prepare for them. I think we are just as good as they are.”