OLMSTED FALLS — At Olmsted Falls, the three R’s of winning basketball are “Run, Rebound and Rowdy.”
The Bulldogs had all three working Monday in defeating North Ridgeville 55-39 in a non-league game.
Juniors Savanajh Black and Kerri Gasper each had 12 points for Olmsted Falls (3-2) as it pulled out to a 28-11 halftime lead and never looked back.
After a string of close games early in the year, this was the type of win the Bulldogs had been waiting for.
“We love to get it going on the defensive end so we can get easy looks on offense,” said Black, a 5-foot-9 forward, who had a team-high 14 rebounds. “I feel like that’s what did the trick tonight.
“You should have heard us in the locker room. This win felt good.”
The Rangers (3-2) were held to 18 percent shooting and outrebounded 25-12 in the first half.
“We struggled to score, then we started to turn the ball over,” North Ridgeville coach Amy Esser said. “We just didn’t start the game well. Olmsted Falls is a tough, physical team and we just didn’t handle that well enough.
“I thought we played much better in the second half but by then it was too late.”
With several Division I college scouts in attendance to watch her play, Gasper scored all of her 12 points in the first half, going 5-of-8 from the field with a pair of 3-pointers.
“We moved the ball and ran screens to find the open person and kept everyone involved,” said Gasper, a 5-foot-10 guard. “That’s really important for us, it makes the defense focus on all five girls on the court. When we can dominate in the post and on the outside we’re unstoppable.”
Olmsted Falls’ biggest lead of the night was 26 points after Mellissa Holcomb hit a 3-pointer to make the score 45-19 with just over two minutes to play in the third quarter.
Rangers junior guard Alyssa Riley led all scorers with 14 points and had 10 of her team’s 11 first-half points. Senior Isabella Pecchia, who came into the game leading the Rangers in scoring, was held to seven points.
“I’ve played against (Isabella) in AAU for a while now, so we sorta know each other’s moves,” Black said. “It was a battle to guard her but I definitely had a lot of help from my teammates. Marie Jacobs was down there battling too and Kerri had my help side. It was a team effort.”
Olmsted Falls also did an excellent job of taking care the basketball, committing only seven turnovers over the first three quarters before the starters on both teams gave way to the reserves.
“Without a doubt this was one of the best games we’ve played all season,” Olmsted Falls coach Matt Fulton said. “The better you start, the more confident you feel. When the shots start falling it starts snowballing in a good way. We have a lot of weapons and if we get four of five girls scoring we know we’re going to have a good night.”
As has been the case all season, North Ridgeville had another good night at the foul line, making 73 percent (11-of-15), including 10-of-11 in the second half.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olmsted Falls 55, North Ridgeville 39
NORTH RIDGEVILLE (39): Sami Shaw 1-0-2, Ashley Caraszi 0-1-1, Kelly Wisniewski 2-0-4, Allie Hollis 2-3-7, Leah Lindak 1-0-2, Kaylee Buhrow 1-0-2, Isabella Pecchia 2-3-7, Alyssa Riley 4-4-14. Totals 13-11-39.
OLMSTED FALLS (55): Kara Marshall 3-0-6, Hannah Hammeren 1-0-2, Kristina Mancini 1-0-2, Kerri Gasper 5-0-12, Marie Jacobs 4-0-9, Mellisa Holcomb 1-0-3, Heather Mueller 4-1-9, Savanajh Black 6-0-12. Totals 25-1-55.
North Ridgeville 5 6 17 11 — 39
Olmsted Falls 17 11 21 6 — 55
Three-point goals: North Ridgeville (Riley ), Olmsted Falls (Gasper 2, Jacobs, Holcomb); Field goals: North Ridgeville 13-45 (29 percent), Olmsted Falls 25-55 (45 percent); Free throws: North Ridgeville 11-15 (73 percent), Olmsted Falls 1-4 (25 percent); Rebounds: North Ridgeville 29, Olmsted Falls 35; Turnovers: North Ridgeville 14, Olmsted Falls 12; Total fouls: North Ridgeville 9, Olmsted Falls 14.