OLMSTED FALLS — Northeast Ohio may be littered with frozen pipes, car batteries and water intake valves but Wednesday evening Olmsted Falls ran into something that is still sizzling hot — the Berea-Midpark Titans.
The Titans scored nine of the first 11 points of the game and never looked back on their way to a 56-26 Southwestern Conference win.
It was the first-ever meeting between the Bulldogs and Berea-Midpark, which opened its doors at the start of the current school year after the former Berea and Midpark High Schools were combined.
Senior Stasha Carey led Berea-Midpark with 21 points. She said there was some concern among her teammates that they would get off to a slow start after going three days without an official practice due to the weather.
“We had to make sure our energy was up. We didn’t want to have a letdown and not show what kind of team we are,” Carey said. “Plus, we knew if we started bad, we were gonna get yelled at.”
The Titans’ first 12 points came off 3-pointers, and they shot 70 percent as a team in the first quarter, while building an 18-8 lead. Berea-Midpark improved to 13-0 overall and 6-0 in the SWC.
“I think there’s a good reason they are 13-0. They have won a lot of games by 30 points and made a lot of teams look the way they made us look tonight,” Olmsted Falls coach Matt Fulton said. “They have too many weapons. They have shooters, they have kids who can penetrate and they also have a nice post game.”
How good is Berea-Midpark? Because of the confusion of some Associated Press voters, the team was ranked twice in the first state Division I poll. The Titans were ranked No. 9 as Berea and No. 13 as Midpark.
Kara Marshall, Hannah Hammeren and Heather Mueller each had six points to lead the Bulldogs (7-5, 3-3 SWC). Olmsted Falls junior guard Kerri Gasper, who is among the area’s top scorers, was held scoreless by an aggressive defense that forced 27 turnovers.
“We’ll watch some film from this game, but after that we just have to drop this game and look forward to Westlake on Saturday,” Fulton said. “There are some things we talked about after the game that we have to do better. We have to execute better and cut harder on offense but there is nothing to be gained by dwelling on this loss.”
It was the second time in three games that the Bulldogs were held under 30 points after scoring 42 or more points in eight of their first nine games. Meanwhile, it was Berea-Midpark’s seventh win by 30 or more points.
“I thought we were actually a little rusty tonight. It looked like two team playing after a couple of snow days, but we’ll take it,” Titans coach Kevin Braaten said. “We started the first quarter well and our pressure defense has been successful for us all season.”
Becca Ziska, who had two of the Titans’ seven 3-pointers, was also in double figures with 10 points.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Berea-Midpark 56, Olmsted Falls 26
BEREA-MIDPARK (56): Kyla Johnson 1-0-3, Jess Barnes 3-0-8, Kyla Paster 2-0-4, Becca Ziska 3-2-10, Zoranne Host 2-3-8, Stasha Carey 9-2-21, Tiana Moody 1-0-2. Totals 21-7-56.
OLMSTED FALLS (26): Kara Marshall 2-1-6, Hannah Hammeren 2-2-6, Kristina Mancini 1-0-2, Marie Jacobs 1-0-2, Heather Mueller 3-0-6, Savanajh Black 1-2-4. Totals 10-5-26.
Berea-Midpark 18 15 13 10 — 56
Olmsted Falls 8 8 4 6 — 26
Three-point goals: Berea-Midpark (Barnes 2, Ziska 2, Johnson, Carey, Host); Olmsted Falls (Marshall). Field goals: Berea-Midpark 21-42 (50 percent), Olmsted Falls 10-36 (28 percent); Free throws: Berea-Midpark 7-11 (64 percent), Olmsted Falls 5-8 (63 percent); Rebounds: Berea-Midpark 27, Olmsted Falls 20; Turnovers: Berea-Midpark 13, Olmsted Falls 26; Total fouls: Berea-Midpark 8, Olmsted Falls 12.