October 21, 2014

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Girls basketball: Westlake shakes off its own struggles, shuts out Olmsted Falls in fourth quarter to post comeback win

Westlake's Taylor Hood looks to pass the ball as Olmsted Falls' Savanajh Black defends. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

Westlake’s Taylor Hood looks to pass the ball as Olmsted Falls’ Savanajh Black defends. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

WESTLAKE — A score of 30 is cause for celebration when taking the ACT, not when playing basketball. Saturday, however, it was all Westlake needed to pass another kind of test.

The Demons held Olmsted Falls scoreless in the fourth quarter to come from seven points down and escape with a 30-26 win in Southwestern Conference girls basketball action.

Westlake (12-1, 6-1 SWC) has won a lot of basketball games this year and in recent years, but few have been like this one.

The Demons shot 20 percent from the field (6-of-30) and made just one of their first 20 field-goal attempts over the first 19:35 of the game and scored more than half of its points from the free throw line where it went 17-for-24.

“This games was nuts,” Westlake coach Chip Weiss said. “We had one field goal in the first half and we go in tied. Then we hold them scoreless in the fourth quarter. Just crazy.

“Our defense stepped up when it had to and we outhustled them. We’ve been in about eight like this this season so our girls stayed in the game because they’ve all been in tight games before.”

Westlake’s first lead of the game came with 1:37 to play when senior Corrine Furci hit a 3-pointer — the Demons’ only three of the night — to put her team up 28-26.

“As a team we stick together,” Furci said. “So we just kept talking about staying positive and running our plays on offense and keeping up the pressure on defense. I’ve never met a group of girls that is more dedicated to winning than this team.”

The Bulldogs (7-6, 3-4) led for almost the entire game, outrebounded Westlake 37-20 and got a game-high 10 points from junior Kerri Gasper, but still walked off the court with its second consecutive loss.

Instead of being angry that his team blew a 26-19 fourth-quarter lead and only went to the line four times while the Demons shots 24 free throws, Olmsted Falls coach Matt Fulton just chalked it up as a learning experience and a poorly played game by both teams.

“Nobody was able to make baskets tonight,” he said. “To be honest, I feel bad for the fans that came out tonight to see nobody make baskets.”

Sophomore Monica Fury also had 10 points for Westlake. She made six free throws in the second quarter, the only points the Demons scored in the first seven and a half minutes of the period.

“At the beginning of the season I was struggling from the line, so I’ve been staying after practice and working on making my free throws,” Fury said. “Our shooting was interesting in the first half. I don’t think I can recall ever being in a game like this. As surprising as it might sound though, we never got frustrated. We knew when we got down by seven points we just had to turn up the intensity even more.”

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

Westlake 30, Olmsted Falls 26

OLMSTED FALLS (26): Kara Marshall 3-0-8, Hannah Hammeren 1-2-4, Kerri Gasper 4-0-10, Heather Mueller 1-0-4, Savanah 0-0-0. Totals 10-2-26.
WESTLAKE (30): Rebecca Essig 3-1-7, Taylor Hood 0-2-2, Corinne Furci 1-2-5, Allison Collins 1-3-5, Monica Fury 1-8-10, Erin O’Neil 0-1-1. Totals 6-17-30.
Olmsted Falls 5 7 14 0 — 26
Westlake 2 10 7 11 — 30
Three-point goals: Olmsted Falls (Gasper 2, Marshall 2), Westlake (Furci). Field goals: Olmsted Falls 10-36 (28 percent), Westlake 6-30 (20 percent). Free throws: Olmsted Falls 2-4 (50 percent), Westlake 17-24 (71 percent). Rebounds: Olmsted Falls 37, Westlake 20. Turnovers: Olmsted Falls 21, Westlake 14. Total fouls: Olmsted Falls 18, Westlake 9.
Junior varsity: Westlake, 50-14