July 30, 2014

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Girls basketball: Westlake’s excellent first half leads to a whole lot of fun as Demons roll over Lake Catholic by 20

Westlake's Taylor Hood, left, dives for a loose ball against Jill Gidson of Lake Catholic. DAVID RICHARD / CHRONICLE

Westlake’s Taylor Hood, left, dives for a loose ball against Jill Gidson of Lake Catholic. DAVID RICHARD / CHRONICLE

TWINSBURG — A day after a tough conference game it would have been easy for Westlake to come out and play lethargically Sunday against Lake Catholic at the Fight or Flight Invitational at Twinsburg High School.

Instead, the Demons played possibly their best first half of the season, building a 27-point halftime lead en route to a 67-47 win.

Westlake, the No. 1 team in The Chronicle-Telegram Top 5, improved to 9-1, while the Cougars dropped to 2-6.

“The first half we came out and played really well,” Westlake sophomore Rebecca Essig said. “In the morning at pregame we were kind of dead, but once we got here we worked as a team to get each other pumped up and get ready for the game.”

With the game tied at 4 at the 3:58 mark of the first quarter, sophomore Monica Fury made a pair of free throw, kicking off a 26-4 run that lasted until the final 90 seconds of the half.

“We were clicking on everything in that first half,” Westlake coach Chip Weiss said. “Making shots, making good decisions and executing on defense. We didn’t rush our shots. When we shoot with confidence it makes all the difference in the world.”

As has been the case all season, the Demons benefited from a balanced scored attack with three players in double figures. Senior Corinne Furci led the way with 14 points, Essig added 13 and Fury had 12. Furci scored nine of her points from behind the 3-point arc.

“The past couple of days my shot has been on, but I wouldn’t be able to do it without my teammates working hard to get me the ball and give me assists,” said Furci, who also scored 22 points Saturday against Brecksville. “Without the defense forcing turnovers none of us would get easy shots.”

Lake Catholic didn’t get down after scoring just 10 points in the first. Instead, the Cougars came out firing in the second half, scoring 21 third-quarter points. However, Lake Catholic never cut its below 13 points.

Sophomore Joseph Jordan led Lake Catholic with 14 points, including three 3-pointers in the third quarter. As a team, the Cougars hit six second-half threes.

The Demons shot 44 percent from the field and had seven 3-pointers of their own.

With just two non-league games on the schedule over the next 14 days, the Demons will have some time to look back on what they have already accomplished the first half of the season.

When asked if she thought the team would be 9-1 at this point, Furci was honest.

“Not at all,” she said.

“Our teamwork has been the key to our success. Everybody adds something special to the team chemistry.”

Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.

Westlake 67, Lake Catholic 47

WESTLAKE (67): Rebecca Essig 6-0-13, Taylor Hood
1-2-4, Corinne Furci 5-1-14, Mallory Garafolo 1-0-3, Allison Collins 2-0-6, Monica Fury 3-6-12, Kelly Laraway 2-0-4, Paige Rimko 2-0-4, Erin O’Neil 2-3-7. Totals 24-12-67.
LAKE CATHOLIC (47): Jordan Joseph 5-0-14, De’Asya Jones 4-3-11, Ja’Ere Moore 1-0-2, Monica Eckford 0-1-1, Jill Gidson 4-3-13, Shannon McCoy 1-0-3, Angelina Goosbhy 1-1-3 . Totals 16-8-47.

Westlake 13 24 11 19 — 67
Lake Catholic 7 3 21 16 — 47

Three-point goals: Westlake (Furci 3, Collins 2, Garafolo, Essig), Lake Catholic (Joseph 4, Gidson 2, McCoy). Field goals: Westlake 24-55 (44 percent), Lake Catholic 16-42 (38 percent). Free throws: Westlake 12-17 (71 percent), Lake Catholic 8-15 (53 percent). Rebounds: Westlake 41, Lake Catholic 25. Turnovers: Westlake 16, Lake Catholic 17. Total fouls: Westlake 14, Lake Catholic 14.