NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Aryanna Jackson is Beachwood’s 5-foot-9 junior Jill-of-all-trades.
She played guard, wing, spent time in the No. 4 spot and even found herself in the post against Elyria Catholic on Thursday night.
The Panthers didn’t have an answer.
Jackson, already in the minds of some college coaches, also scored 20 of the Bison’s points in a 42-37 Division III district semifinal victory over the top-seeded Panthers.
The game was close from start to finish.
It was tied at the end of the first two quarters, but the Bison outscored EC 15-10 in the second half. In the fourth quarter, Beachwood ate up chunks of time with the ball under the arm of Jackson or another guard in an effort to pull the Panthers (18-6) out of their zone defense.
Panthers coach Eric Rothgery said his team followed the game plan and that, despite the loss, he was pleased with the effort.
“I thought we executed the game plan very well and the girls did a good job, did everything we asked,” Rothgery said. “Beachwood adjusted very well. They have three really good guards and they don’t get greedy.
“They get up two or three points and the next thing you know, they’re holding the ball. That caused some problems, it affected the pace of the game.”
The win gives No. 3 seed Beachwood (18-6) a shot at Gilmour Academy for the district championship at 1 p.m. Saturday, also at North Ridgeville. Gilmour defeated Independence on Wednesday night to set up the battle between schools from far eastern Cuyahoga County.
A factor in the loss was that EC, which made nearly half its field-goal attempts the first 16 minutes, connected on barely 21 percent the second half. And the Panthers got to the foul line only six times for the game, and made only two. The Bison made 11 of 13 foul shots.
Beachwood’s Jackson said the Bison spend considerable practice time on the possession game.
“We work on that every day,” she said. “We gotta be able to run down the clock and take that last shot. It has to be ours.”
As for her versatility, Jackson said: “I work on all (positions). I mean, everybody has to be able to play every position. If you want to be an all-around player, you have to play every position. I really just wanted to get this for my team because our seniors are going to be gone and this is their last shot.”
The loss was hard for some of the Panthers, including Natalie Tremont, their only senior. Still, Tremont was optimistic about EC’s future.
“We had a really good season, even though we lost the game tonight,” she said. “I’m the only one leaving, so they have a really good shot next year. We’re a really close team, so the farther they go playing together, the better they’re going to get. Hopefully, next year at this time, I’ll host them at my house in Columbus while they’re at state.”
Tremont will major in business at Ohio State next year. She hopes one day to own a bakery.
Jackson’s 20 points were high for the game. EC’s Riley Schill finished with a team-high 13 points, and teammate Jessie Lee, a freshman, and Beachwood senior Mikah Aldridge scored 10 apiece.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beachwood 42, Elyria Catholic 37
BEACHWOOD (42): Aryanna Jackson 6-5-20, Aneisha Hardin 3-0-6, Jaelyn Pounds 0-0-0, Monique Kaiser 0-0-0, Mikah Aldridge 2-4-10, Jada Stevens 1-0-2, Maurina Nunn 0-0-0, Christina Oden 1-2-4. Totals 13-11-42.
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (37): Julia Scarpelli 2-0-4, Josie Carandang 2-0-6, Rachel Cairns 0-0-0, Riley Schill 5-2-13, Sam Filiaggi 0-0-0, Nora Hopkins 0-0-0, Becky Horvath 2-0-4, Jessie Lee 5-0-10. Totals 16-2-37.
Beachwood 16 11 7 8 — 42
Elyria Catholic 16 11 6 4 — 37
Three-point goals: Beachwood 5-18 (Jackson 3, Aldrich 2); Elyria Catholic 3-11 (Carandang 2, Schill). Field goals: Beachwood 13-42 (30.9 percent); Elyria Catholic 16-48 (33.3 percent). Free throws: Beachwood 11-13, Elyria Catholic 2-6. Rebounds: Beachwood 33, Elyria Catholic 23. Turnovers: Beachwood 11, Elyria Catholic 6.