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Girard can’t hang with Tigers in rout

Staff photo / Brian Yauger -- Girard’s Jalaya Brown goes up for a layup during the third quarter of Monday’s game as Madison Haidet of Newton Falls defends. Brown and the Indians couldn’t contain the Tigers in a 53-30 loss.

GIRARD — High school basketball games played at noon on a Monday aren’t exactly common, but when teams are fighting to get 22 games in, they’ll take any opportunity they can to hit the court.

Newton Falls and Girard met up Monday, with the Tigers coming out on top 53-30 in the lunchtime tilt.

“Normally we play good defense, it keeps us in the game most of the time,” Indians coach Andrew Saxon said. “Defense let us down a little bit today. We weren’t able to press, we tried to play baseline to baseline, get easy shots and we weren’t able to do that today. They hit some 3s, which hurt, but our shooting definitely needs to improve if we’re going to be a little more competitive.”

Newton Falls had control of the game early, outscorcing Girard 18-7 in the first quarter. Offense has been an issue thus far for the Indians, who have been hit hard in regards to practice time and are still catching their bearings after the Trumbull County shutdown that spanned through late November through most of December.

“The way things are now, it’s like you get one day to prepare, you’re playing three games a week, so it’s kind of tough,” Saxon said. “The girls came back a little bit out of shape, and we’ve got to get them back into shape, and here we go playing again. It’s been difficult, but everyone’s in the same situation in Trumbull County, so we do the best we can.”

Most of Girard’s offense came from two players, junior Seyhan Dede and sophomore Abbie Rafferty, who each had six points.

On the other side of the scorebook, Newton Falls was led by Madison Haidet, who scored 20 points and Bree Hutson, who scored 11. The Tigers are starting to find their groove after an 0-2 start, winning four straight.

“We’re starting to get our feet underneath us,” Newton Falls coach Mark Baker said. “We’re starting to shoot the basketball a little bit better. All in all, I gotta love the fight. I love the fight from both teams. I mean neither one of us, neither team has probably been able to practice more than two or three times as of late, so a great effort out of both groups.”

What has helped Newton Falls is a well-developed core, led by five seniors who have helped the team adjust to everything this season has thrown at them, on the court and off it.

“Fortunately for me, with the kids that I have, I’ve got five seniors right now and they’re playing really well together,” Baker said. “They know the routine, they know what they’re supposed to do and when they’re supposed to do it. I think they’re leading the ones in the right direction as well. They’ve really been an extension of me in multiple facets of the game.”

The Tigers were originally slated to take on Campbell, but the game was canceled. Newton Falls’ next contest is now against Warren G. Harding on Thursday.

Girard (3-4) looks to get back to .500 against Struthers on Thursday, at team they beat 47-41 earlier in the season.

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