BEREA — Westlake entered Berea-Midpark’s gymnasium Thursday night with the hopes of sharing a Southwestern Conference title. Instead, the Demons shared the pain the Titans have inflicted on everyone in the league this season, as Berea-Midpark rolled to a 59-31 and the first conference title in the school’s brief history.
Westlake (16-4, 10-2 SWC) knew it was in trouble early when the Titans unleashed a barrage of 3-pointers to take an early 12-4 lead. It only continued to get worse.
“We were flat from the beginning. We had to make our foul shots and get off to a good start and that just didn’t happen tonight,” Westlake coach Chip Weiss said. “Once Berea-Midpark got that big lead, they were just able to overmatch us. They are very hard to beat.”
Berea-Midpark (20-2, 12-0) was led by Stasha Carey, who had a game-high 20 points and 14 rebounds. It was the fourth time that Carey, a senior and University of Pittsburgh recruit, has cut down the net after a conference championship. She was also a part of the final three Midpark High title teams before the school merged with Berea last June.
“We didn’t want to share this conference title. We knew (Westlake) wanted to beat us tonight and we wanted to do the same to them,” Carey said. “This was an awesome night for us. It was goal for us to run the table in the league and to be a part of the first championship team at Berea-Midpark.”
Monica Fury led Westlake with 12 points. The Demons have just one day to get ready for Saturday’s opening round Division I sectional game at home against Highland.
“We’re not going to get down after this game. Nobody thought we were going to be here playing for a share of the Southwestern Conference title at the end of the season. This was a great honor just to be here tonight,” Weiss said. “We know what we have to do on Saturday. We’ll come out and shoot better and we’ll be OK. I always tell the kids, ‘It’s not how you start, its how you finish.’” We played hard tonight until the end. That’s all you can ask for.”
Westlake shot just 22 percent from the field, while Berea-Midpark shot 48 percent, including six 3-pointers.
Both teams played are in the Parma District in the new blended Division I tournament, which means they could possibly meet for a third time in two weeks in the district title game.
“We told the girls we had to come out strong tonight. We know Westlake is an excellent team but we have more experience in these situations and we were in our home gym so we had to take advantage of that,” Titans coach Kevin Braaten said. “We’ve been a complete team all year and this was a great team victory. I’m really proud of our girls. We thought this would be our year. Westlake is a young team, so in a year or two, they might be the team to beat.”
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Berea-Midpark 59, Westlake 31
WESTLAKE (31): Rebecca Essig 1-0-2, Corinne Furci 2-2-7, Allison Collins 2-0-4, Monica Fury 4-5-13, Kelly Laraway 1-1-3, Erin O’Neil 1-0-2. Totals 11-8-31.
BEREA-MIDPARK (59): Kyla Johnson 3-0-9, Jess Barnes 3-0-7, Lexi Siggers 2-0-4, Kyla Paster 4-2-10, Becca Ziska 1-0-2, Zoranne Host 1-0-2, Stasha Carey 8-3-20, Savana Jankowski 1-0-3, Tiana Moody 1-0-2. Totals 24-5-59.
Westlake 4 12 6 9 — 31
Berea-Midpark 12 17 17 13 — 59
Three-point goals: Westlake(Furci ), Berea-Midpark (Johnson 3, Barnes, Carey, Jankowski). Field goals: Westlake 11-51 (22 percent), Berea-Midpark 24-50 (48 percent). Free throws: Westlake 8-15 (53 percent), Berea-Midpark 5-14(36 percent). Rebounds: Westlake 30, Berea-Midpark 44. Turnovers: Westlake13, Berea-Midpark 16. Total fouls: Westlake 8, Berea-Midpark 14.