VERMILION — Junior Hannah Bartlome nailed the 3-pointer that turned the tide for Vermilion on Saturday afternoon.
And senior AuBree LaForce made five of seven foul shots in the last 53 seconds as the Sailors defeated North Ridgeville 55-49 in West Shore Conference play. LaForce’s final free throw gave her a game-high 21 points. Bartlome scored 17 and Vermilion improved to 9-4, 2-4 WSC.
The Rangers (3-11, 1-6) trailed from the opening tip until less than a minute remained in the third quarter. They finally earned a 37-37 tie on Cortney Judson’s basket with 40 seconds left in the period.
North Ridgeville tied it again, 39-all, on a Judson field goal early in the fourth and trailed 50-49 with under 1:30 to play. But the Rangers made a turnover on their next possession with 1:19 to go and didn’t score again. Bartlome’s 3-pointer on the next possession put them ahead for good.
“They made it a game,” Bartlome said. “It wasn’t a comfortable lead but we stuck with it and pulled out the win, which is all you can ask for. I got nervous when it was only one point, but AuBree is very good at free throws.”
“We just played steady and level-headed, made stops on defense and we were able to keep going and pull it out,” LaForce said. “We made some adjustments during timeout and came out in a different defense.”
North Ridgeville junior Isabella Pecchia scored 13 points, sophomore Alyssa Riley drilled three 3-pointers and Judson put up nine of her 15 points in the second half. Pecchia finished with a team-high 19 points and Judson scored 15. Vermilion put a box-and-one defense on Pecchia down the stretch in an effort to slow her down.
“I thought we executed well for the most part,” Rangers coach Amy Esser said. “I thought our game plan was where it needed to be. I just felt execution on a couple of possessions would have helped.
“We got good ball movement and we did very well against the zone, and I thought Cortney Judson came out and picked up the slack.”
Vermilion coach Colin Irish said he was happy to win, but thought the margin could have been wider.
“We made it harder than we needed to, but it was a good win,” Vermilion coach Colin Irish said. “I still think that when we run our sets and execute our sets we’re a pretty good team. We still have some bad habits, but it’s a learning process. It’s a win though, and I’m glad we got a win.”
It was a big day for LaForce. It was her 18th birthday and she was honored with balloons and flowers in a pregame ceremony that recognized her reaching 1,000 career points against Clearview on Jan. 3. Irish also gave her the ball used in the Clearview game.
LaForce said the presentation was a surprise.
“It meant a lot when they called me out there,” she said. “The gameball from coach Irish was awesome and it meant a lot that my family was there.”
If LaForce avoids injury for the rest of the season and through the softball schedule, she will graduate with 14 varsity letters. She also has a shot at the school’s career scoring record, 1,135. And she ranks first in her class academically.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vermilion 55, North Ridgeville 49
NORTH RIDGEVILLE (49): Emilie Groh 1-0-2, Ashley Caraszi 0-0-0, Kelly Wisniewski 1-1-4, Leah Lindak 0-0-0, cassie Mattix 0-0-0, Isabella Pecchia 8-3-19, Jordan Butcher 0-0-0, Alyssa Riley 3-0-9, Cortney Judson 7-1-15. Totals 20-5-49.
VERMILION (56): AuBree LaForce 7-5-21, Hannah Bartlome 6-3—17, Sarah Bartlome 0-0-0, Kalynn Smith 0-0-0, Jennifer Kovarik 1-0-2, Ellen Rossi 4-0-8, Allie Kowal 2-0-4, Leigh Stainbrook 0-3-3. Totals 20-11-55.
North Ridgeville 8 10 19 12 — 49
Vermilion 15 9 15 16 — 56
Three-point goals: North Ridgeville 4-14 (Riley 3, Wisniewski); Vermilion 4-10 (Bartlome 2, LaForce2). Field goals: North Ridgeville 20-45 (44.4 percent); Vermilion 20-61 (32.8 percent). Free throws: North Ridgeville 5-9; Vermilion 11-17. Rebounds: North Ridgeville 29; Vermilion 33. Turnovers: North Ridgeville 12; Vermilion 14
Junior varsity: Vermilion, 39-27.