GREEN: After having a game canceled due to the flu last Saturday, a youthful Green squad returned to the court to take down Northwest 51-36 at home Monday night.
After having their game against Tallmadge on Saturday canceled due to a flu-ravaged roster, Green (4-7) still wasn’t at full strength (leading scorer Julia Guyton, a sophomore, was still out with the flu) but used an 18-0 run in the first half to put the game out of reach from an equally young Northwest (2-7).
“We needed to get back on the winning track and we wanted to win it for Julie,” Green coach Tracy Miller said. “After being sick, we were fighting the whole night.”
After spotting Northwest the first six points of the game, Green went on an 18-0 run and eventually entered halftime with a 29-10 lead. Green’s youthful (three seniors, no juniors) and undersized roster transitioned to a zone defense as Northwest crossed half court, stifling the Indians’ offense.
“We were smaller, so we were trying to get our quickness out there,” Miller said. “With our size, we had to make it a full-court game and we were trying to put the pressure on them. When it was half-court, [Northwest junior Ashley Crossland] is so tough so we had to double her. We were playing full-court man and then snuck back into zone.”
The Indians drew within seven points of Green, 41-34, with just under three minutes remaining. Green sophomore McKenzie Black was fouled three times and hit all six free throws she attempted, effectively ending the game. Black scored a game-high 14 points.
“McKenzie stepped up and hit some big free throws there in the end,” Miller said. “And we got some good minutes from our post players, [senior] Lexi Teodosio and [freshman] Madison Jackson. The third quarter got away from us a bit but we hung in there and kept our composure up.”
Jackson finished the night with nine points. Freshman Lilly Carson had eight points and senior Erika Rector and sophomore Tarah McCausland each added seven points.
Miller and Northwest coach Donnie Schenz are in similar positions, at the helm of young teams learning to play together. Most of Green’s rotational players are in their sophomore years, and Northwest doesn’t have a senior on the roster. Miller and Schenz, who are friends, occasionally shot a smile in the other’s direction through Monday night’s game.
“We’re both going through the same thing,” Miller said. “We’re trying to build programs here at Green and Northwest. We have respect for each other and we’ll smile or wink every now and then, it’s all in good fun. So we’re trying to build programs together.”
Northwest was led by junior Jordan Smith and Crossland, who scored 11 and nine points, respectively. Freshman Madison Worden added six points.
The Indians weren’t ever able to find an offensive rhythm thanks to Green’s defensive pressure, and a couple of key plays in certain situations. In the first half, it was Black going for the steal but hitting it to Smith, who drove to the hoop. Black caught up with her and swatted the ball out of bounds. Later, it was McCausland, who stole an in-bounds pass just after Northwest cut Green’s lead to seven.
“We had quite a few kids who stepped up when we were without our top scorer,” Miller said. “It’s only our fourth win, but this is a nice win for us.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.