Girls Division I sectional semifinals
By Ryan Kaczmarski
The Westlake girls basketball team started the postseason like a hurricane, as the Demons made quick work of the North Ridgeville Rangers, 58-26, at Elyria Catholic High School on Saturday.
After jumping out to a 9-0 lead, the Demons kept pulling away, going into halftime with a 35-10 lead. Westlake (15-8) did not let up in the second half, as the Demons scored 16 points in the third quarter, then emptied the bench in the fourth quarter and putting seven more points on the board.
The Demons are a young team this season, only returning three girls from last year’s team that went to the district finals in Liz Kobe, Maggie Zimmerman and Rachel Collins.
“The three seniors this year are the only people we have left with postseason experience,” Westlake head coach Chip Weiss said. “It was great to get (everyone) as much experience in as possible.”
The Demons’ full-court pressure held North Ridgeville to two points in the first quarter, eight points in the second and 16 points in the entire second half of the game.
“That’s all we’ve done this year, is pressure teams up,” Weiss said. “You can see our size, we don’t have any at all (with Kobe and Madison Dunlap topping out the roster at 5 feet, 9 inches) and that’s how we’ve been all year long. We just press teams. I don’t care who it is, we can always put pressure on them.”
Westlake had scoring from 10 different players in the game, with Zimmerman and Collins leading the way with 11 points each, followed by Kobe and Monica Fury with 10 points each.
Nine of Zimmerman’s 11 points came via the 3-point shot, which is where she thrives out on the floor, and even though she has become more of the team’s offensive focus this season, she still finds those outside opportunities.
“I think I’ve matured more and I’m more relaxed than last year,” she said. “Now that I know that I have to score more, it has motivated me. My teammates rely on me, so I hope to carry them (throughout the postseason).”
Westlake will face Lorain County power Elyria High School tonight for the sectional championship, and Weiss knows that will be no easy task.
“Elyria is a great team,” he said. “They are very athletic, very quick and they have some height. Their post player has some great height and we have to keep aware (of her).
“We have to take care of the ball and have great defense (to win).”
Lorain wins in defensive struggle over Olmsted Falls
The second game of the sectional triple-header was one out of the “ugliest-game” files, as Lorain High School defeated Olmsted Falls 32-25.
Both teams had trouble putting the ball in the basket, as the game was filled with missed shots and turnovers, and the Bulldogs (10-13) head coach Matt Fulton was extremely displeased with his team’s performance.
“This was just a really bad basketball game,” he said. “What was the final score, 32-25? That’s (usually) a halftime score. That’s just bad offense.
“(Lorain) changed up their defense. They went from a 1-3-1, to a man-to-man defense, and that had us rattled, but we just didn’t make baskets. They were a huge part (of the loss) and I’ll give them credit for it, but it just wasn’t a good game.”
Olmsted Falls junior Kerri Gasper led the Bulldogs in scoring with nine points, followed by Melissa Holcomb with seven.
North Olmsted keeps Midview winless for 2012-13
No one wants to be the first to drop a game to a squad who is on a long losing streak, and that goes for North Olmsted, who faced the winless Midview Middies in Saturday’s final sectional semifinal game at Elyria Catholic, and came out with an easy 67-35 victory.
Midview (0-23) kept pace throughout the first quarter, with North Olmsted (10-13) taking a six point lead to end the opening session, 17-11, but with only 10 girls on the roster, the well-rested Eagles just over-powered the Middies as the game went on. By halftime, the Eagles were up 32-15 and ended the third quarter with a 54-29 lead.
“I though that we showed a good team effort,” North Olmsted head coach Cheryl Bansek said. “Our senior forward, Michelle Palange, she fouled-out, but she played a heck of a game offensively (leading all scoring with 17 points), not such a great game defensively with all the fouls. She had some spurts there where she scored six or eight points in a minutes’ span.”
With the game virtually in hand, Bansek was able to mix up rotations and give everyone some quality minutes on the floor.
“It’s always nice to be able to do that when the score gets a little spread out,” she said.
The Eagles move on to play the No. 1 overall seed Magnificat on Saturday, and Bansek knows that her team needs to play a nearly perfect game to beat the Blue Streaks.
“We’re looking forward to (playing) Magnificat,” she said. “We’re going to have to play good defense, without fouling, and we have to box-out and get rebounds and everything else will take care of itself.
“We think that (Magnificat) has more matchup problems with us, than we do with them, just because of our length.”
Palange’s 17 points were followed by North Olmsted’s Hayley Bukala with 13 and Tara Kelley with 11.
In other action, Lakewood defeated Berea 67-42, and moves on to play North Royalton tonight in the Division I Parma district sectional finals, and Lutheran West defeated Brooklyn 39-27, to move on to play Trinity in the Division III sectional finals on Saturday.