By Ryan Kaczmarski
It must have seemed like an eternity for the Westlake girls basketball team since its last game on Dec. 28. After starting the season 8-0, the Demons suffered their first loss of the season to Hudson High School over the holiday break.
The girls had a week to think about what happened in Hudson, and they made sure that 2012 started off on the right note by beating Brecksville-Broadview Heights 49-41.
“The kids were really disappointed with the last game (in Hudson),” said Westlake head coach Chip Weiss. “Since we just had Christmas break, it took a long time to get here (tonight). We were anxious to get back on the floor, for sure.”
The Demons (9-1, 5-0 in the Southwestern Conference) had to fight from behind to stay unbeaten in the conference, as the Bees (4-5, 2-3 in the SWC) led after the first quarter15-14 and then went on a 5-0 run in the closing moments of the first half to tie the game 20-20.
Westlake’s defense was a little off kilter in the early stages of the game, allowing four 3-point shots from Brecksville freshman guard Mary Schentur, the fourth to tie the game with 1:15 left in the half and forcing Weiss to call his first time out.
“We were out of our routine, and that’s the biggest thing,” Weiss said. “Yesterday was the first day back to school and we had two good days of practice.
“We couldn’t have played worse offensively in the first half. Our shots weren’t falling, and it was a good thing we were tied at the half.”
The Demons went up by five points to close out the third quarter; then they added to the lead in the final act, going up by as much as 43-30 on their way to the victory.
“I said to them (at halftime), ‘We’ll get going (offensively) in the second half,’ and we did,” Weiss said. “The third quarter was a big quarter for us, and we put them away in the fourth.”
Westlake senior forward Katie Carroll led all scoring in the game, with 16 points to go along with her eight rebounds.
“This was really nice (to win),” Carroll said. “We came out a little slow today, not as good as I hoped, but it is nice to get this game out of the way.
“We had a nice two-minute spurt in the third quarter which propelled us onward, and that was good.”
Junior guard Maggie Zimmerman scored 15 points, including three 3-pointers and going two for two at the charity stripe for Westlake. Senior guard Rachael Trujillo and junior guard Liz Kobe each scored nine points for the Demons.
The win keeps Westlake unbeaten in the SWC, but Coach Weiss is not stressing a perfect conference record.
“We want to take it one game at a time,” he said. “Every conference game has been tough. It’s big rivalries. We know each other very well, the coaches know each other and they know what we try to do, so it’s very competitive every game.
“Our team goal this year is to win the Southwestern Conference – there’s no doubt about that – and we still want to do that,” Weiss added. “If you lose one (game) in this conference, you’re done.”
Although the Demons have scored 50 or more points in seven of their games this season, it was the defense forcing 26 turnovers by the Bees that won the game on Wednesday.
“We have so many variations of defense, and that’s what we strive (for),” Weiss said. “We have great defensive sets. We are averaging 25-30 turnovers a game, and that’s what we need because we are not a very tall team. Our defense is going to be our offense this year. We are going to keep pressing and pressing until the other team turns the ball over.
“Right now, Maggie Zimmerman is our big offensive threat with her 3 (point shot), and Katie Carroll does a great job defensively,” he added. “Rachael Trujillo does a great job all around.”
The Demons scored zero points off the bench on Wednesday and only shot 46 percent from the foul line.
Offensive leaders for the Bees were Schentur and junior Sarah Coronel, both of whom scored 12 points each.
Unfortuately, the Demons lost their second game of the season, first in the SWC, to Midpark on Saturday night 62-34.