Twinsburg stages second half rally, beats Fairmont for first state championship

Image

Twinsburg is nationally ranked in three polls. (Gary Housteau)

For 16 minutes Saturday night Kettering Fairmont was in
total control. The insanely young Firebirds led nationally ranked
Twinsburg
by seven points after two quarters and looked like a team
capable of shocking the world. Then the buzzer sounded and the second
half started.


COLUMBUS – For 16 minutes Saturday night Kettering Fairmont was in
total control. The insanely young Firebirds led nationally ranked
Twinsburg by seven points after two quarters and looked like a team
capable of shocking the world. Then the buzzer sounded and the second
half started.

Roaring back with a 17-6 third quarter that eventually propelled it a
55-42 victory and the Division I girls basketball state title,
Twinsburg completed the season as the only undefeated girls basketball
team in the state (26-0) and handed coach Julie Solis her first D-I
state title in two tries before a crowd of 4,386 inside Ohio State’s
Schottenstein Center. Solis led Solon to the 2006 D-I title game where
the Comets lost to Cincinnati Mt. Notre Dame by double-digits. This one
was way closer.

Fairmont, with two freshmen and two sophomores in the starting
line-up and only one upperclassmen on its 10-woman roster, followed up
its impressive semifinal win over Toledo Start by taking command with a
16-9 second quarter.

Led by the play of freshmen Kathryn Westbeld (15 points and 11
rebounds) and Makayla Waterman (13 points), the Firebirds led 26-19 at
halftime and were 16 minutes away from earning the school’s first state
title. Twinsburg was just too much in the second half.

Sensational junior Malina Howard led Twinsburg back by scoring 11 of
her game-high 20 points in the third and fourth quarters and she got
enough help from her teammates to stave off the Firebirds whose
defensive pressure continued to keep them in the game.

Fairmont closed to within 46-42 with 3:02 left but didn’t
score again.

Junior Katie Fox added 14 points for Twinsburg, nine of which came
from the free throw line, and classmate Leah Fechko had 11.

*Player of the Game: Malina Howard, Jr., Twinsburg
– The nationally ranked junior prospect added 11 rebounds in the win. It
was her second double-double of the state tournament. She had 19 points
and 13 rebounds in Friday’s semifinal win over Pickerington North.

*Stat of the Game: The Tigers scored 36 second half
points after scoring just 19 in the first half. Twinsburg had 19 in the
fourth quarter alone.

Division I JJHuddle
All-Tournament Team

Malina Howard, Sr., Twinsburg (Player of the Tournament)
Kathryn Westbeld, Fr., Fairmont
Makayla Waterman, Fr., Fairmont
Maleeka Kynard, Sr., Toledo Start
Kavunaa Edwards, Sr., Pickerington North

JJHuddle All-Ohio Teams (Coming
the first week of April)

The first annual JJHuddle All-Ohio Girls Basketball Teams will be
announced the week of April 4. The teams will feature five-player
first, second and third teams and will have a 10-player honorable
mention. There will also be an “Also Receiving Votes” section. The
teams will encompass all divisions and will be selected by a panel that
includes the best in the business: Tom Jenkins (Ohio Girls Basketball
Report), Mark Lewis (ESPN HoopGurlz) and Dan Olson (Collegiate Girls
Basketball Report). A points system will be used and a player’s
collective career will be taken into consideration (i.e. high school
and club seasons).

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *