Green jumped out to an early 10-point lead, then withstood several Wadsworth rallies over the final three quarters to record a 60-43 win in a packed Green High School gymnasium.
The win gives the Bulldogs (15-1, 10-1) a one-game lead over Wadsworth (12-5, 9-2) and Revere. Green lost to Revere in the first half of the season. The teams meet in one week with the league championship officially on the line.
“It’s huge,” Green senior Amanda Rose said of the rematch with Revere, summing it up perfectly.
Against Wadsworth, Rose was huge. The only player on the floor for Green over 5-foot-8, Rose had game-highs of 16 points and 11 rebounds along with three assists. Sophomore Deanna Wheeler added 13 points and five boards for the Bulldogs. Freshman Logan Pastor scored 11 points, giving her 28 in two games against Wadsworth.
“I think our mix of fresh faces and longtime experience is really working for us,” Green coach Tony Whitmer said. “They’re really meshing and listening and doing a great job of playing together.”
The Bulldogs won this one going way despite shooting 43 percent from the floor and turning the ball over 17 times. The reason for that was simple: They wanted it more.
Despite giving up size at nearly every position and basically playing just six girls while Wadsworth rotated eight, Green outworked and outhustled the Grizzlies. The difference in effort showed in Green’s 33-19 rebounding advantage.
“He played five guards out there but they really did a great job of pushing and shoving,” Wadsworth coach Andrew Booth said. “They killed us on the boards. We put a bigger line-up out there and they killed us on the boards and that’s just a sign of one team being more aggressive.”
On top of getting outplayed, Wadsworth picked a bad night to have a horrid shooting night. The Grizzlies made just 15 of 44 shots from the floor. They turned the ball over 18 times, many unforced.
Senior Britt Busson had a solid game, scoring 14 points, all in the second half. Fellow seniors Chrissy Pavlik and Rachel DeMita, meanwhile, had less memorable nights.
DeMita, an Old Dominion signee, scored seven points, but made just 3 of 12 shots, including 1 of 7 3-pointers. Pavlik, averaging 18 points over her last five games, scored just 5 on 2-of-10 shooting.
“We just didn’t come out to play tonight and they just flat-out beat us,” Pavlik said. “Shots weren’t falling and for them they were.”
Wheeler hit a pair of 3-pointers to key a 12-2 run to start the game. Wadsworth, which had as many turnovers – seven – as field goal attempts in the first quarter, didn’t make its second shot until Pavlik’s steal and lay-up just before the buzzer.
“In the first quarter we were getting every rebound and we were getting all the loose balls,” Rose said. “We played with more heart tonight than I’ve ever seen us.”
The Bulldogs maintained at least an eight-point lead through the second quarter, but the Grizzlies made four straight shots to pull within 28-23 midway through the third.
Then, on a play typical of the way things went for the Grizzlies, Pavlik missed an open lay-up that would have cut the lead further. It was one of at least a half-dozen such misses by Wadsworth.
Green answered that run by making its final five shots in the period, stretching the lead to 39-26 heading into the fourth.
Another spurt got Wadsworth within 41-33 with 6:30 still left, but Green answered with five straight points to again lead by 13. Wadsworth would get within eight once more, at 49-41 with 2:32 left, but Green scored the next seven points to put it away.
The Grizzlies streak, if it comes to an end, has indeed been impressive. The last time they lost two SL games in the same season was in 1994-95, also the last time they didn’t win the championship.
“I respect them so much, their program all through the youngest girls all the way up,” Rose said of the Grizzlies. “They love basketball and you can tell the way they play. Being a freshman through my junior year I’ve been very intimidated by things they could do.”
The loss to Green was Wadsworth’s second consecutive loss, after losing to Cincinnati Winton Woods on Saturday at the Classic in the Country. It was the first time this decade Wadsworth lost consecutive games.