Behind sophomore Alexis Dobbs and her game high 12 points, Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown cruised past visiting Akron Hoban Wednesday to improve to 12-3 on the season.
SHAKER HEIGHTS – The alarm clock rang too late for the Archbishop Hoban girls basketball team Wednesday night and the Knights missed the snooze button. Why? Because the alarm clock in question came in the form of coach Tracy Miller, who spoke not-too-gently to his players after the first quarter of their showdown at Hathaway Brown.
“Wake up, wake up!” Miller screamed in the huddle.
And they did. Hoban played the talented Blazers virtually even the rest of the way, but simply couldn’t muster a strong enough rally in a 56-38 defeat.
The “wake up” call literally voiced by Miller occurred after the Knights (13-2) had fallen behind, 22-7. Hoban committed nine turnovers and managed just two baskets in the opening quarter. Hathaway Brown, meanwhile, was displaying the depth it would show all game with five different players scoring from the field.
The Knights hoped to pound the ball inside to lanky, high-scoring forwards Rachel Tecca and Nikki D’Amico, but Blazers frontline standouts Angela Groves and Mylan Woods performed brilliantly on defense. They held Tessa to a mere seven points and D’Amico to four free throws.
“We came out as well as we could have scripted it,” said Hathaway Brown coach Paul Barlow, who guided his team into the Division II state finals last season. “We were worried about Tecca and D’Amico, but we got a great defensive effort from our girls. The girls did a great job in their rotations and getting on the glass.”
They also withstood a strong run by the Knights in the second quarter. Hoban closed to 27-21 on a Kristen Pero basket, but that’s when Hathaway Brown guard Lauren Ryan decided to plant herself on her favorite spot and bomb away. Ryan nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner at the buzzer signaling the end of the first half to give the Blazers (12-3) a 31-23 lead.
Ryan figured a touch of deja vu was appropriate, so she started the second half as she ended the first, launching another 3-pointer through the net from the same spot to make it 34-23. A minute later, Ryan tried again – same spot, same result. And after teammate Alexis Dobbs (game-high 12 points) drilled a 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 43-26, the Blazers could plan their post-game celebration.
“That left corner is where I feel most comfortable,” Ryan said. “I think the one I hit to end the first half initiated what I was able to do in the second half. (Barlow) is always trying to get me to shoot more.”
Miller certainly wishes Ryan had been a bit more timid. But then, with nine first-half turnovers and 23 in the game, it likely wouldn’t have mattered. His team simply didn’t take care of the basketball well enough to win.
“We didn’t come out ready to play,” he admitted. “Against a team of that quality, we had to come out and play better. But they had three bigs out there against us at all time. When we got down and played the post, they started hitting shots from the outside. They did a nice job against us both inside and outside.”
The Blazers received plenty of help for Dobbs. Woods and Groves both contributed 11 points with Ryan adding 10. Jessacca Gironda matched Tecca with seven points for Hoban.
Any hopes for a belated Knights comeback ended when Tecca left the game after getting banged in the head two minutes into the fourth quarter. She was taken to the locker room, but was not seriously hurt.
The only injury to the Knights Wednesday night was to their ego. Even Tracy “Alarm Clock” Miller couldn’t prevent that.