WESTLAKE — Westlake’s defensive game plan seemed to be working perfectly. One problem for the Demons … they didn’t account for Becca Ziska.
Westlake collapsed on 6-foot-3 Pittsburgh recruit Stasha Carey, hoping to force someone else to beat them.
Ziska was more than happy to oblige. She connected on four of five 3-pointers as Berea-Midpark remained undefeated with a 55-43 road victory Saturday.
“Our biggest thing was Carey,” Westlake coach Chip Weiss said. “We dug deep and had to take her away first and, if they hit the three, they hit the three. Then that girl was 4-for-5. What can you do?”
Carey, who came into the game averaging 16.4 points, ended up with 13 points and 13 rebounds, but it was the outside marksmanship of Ziska, Zoranne Host and a big shot by Jess Barnes that put the Titans (6-0, 3-0 in the Southwestern Conference) over the top.
When Berea-Midpark was struggling early, Host came off the bench and hit a pair of first-half 3-pointers that righted the ship.
Her first pulled the Titans within two at 7-5 with 2:30 left in the first quarter. Her second, a deep shot from the left wing at the three-minute mark of the second quarter, gave the Titans their first lead of the game at 20-19.
“Zo Host hit three threes and when we weren’t playing well, kind of kept us around,” Berea-Midpark coach Kevin Braaten said.
“Every game we’ve had someone different step up for us. That’s been the key to our success.”
Host’s third triple, with 3:04 left in the third, gave the Titans their biggest lead of the game at 41-30.
Westlake wasn’t done. The Demons used a 10-2 run to pull within three at 43-40 early in the fourth quarter, but ran out of gas.
Berea-Midpark closed the game on a 12-3 run to pull away.
“You have to give our team credit, we kept fighting,” Weiss said. “We were so little out there at times and we kept competing. That was the biggest thing … we had no fear. When you have to work so hard defensively, you have to work just as hard offensively, too. We just wore ourselves out.
“We put a lot of energy on defense and our legs were shot. The last three minutes we tried to keep with them, but they outplayed us at the end.”
Barnes, who sparked the Titans’ run that put the game away with a pull-up 3-pointer, said the Titans never flinched when Westlake cut their lead to three points early in the fourth.
“We’re smart and try to stay calm,” she said. “We have a lot of senior leadership and can lock in. That helps us pull things out.”
“The big thing was that they hit their shots,” Weiss added. “The first play after that, right away they hit a 3-pointer. Then we were down. That hurt because you can’t be down against this team because they can spread the ball around so much.”
Sophomore Monica Fury paced Westlake (6-1, 3-1) with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Berea-Midpark 55, Westlake 43
BEREA-MIDPARK (55): Jess Barnes 2-1-6, Kayla Paster 3-0-6, Becca Ziska 4-0-12, Lexi Siggers 0-0-0, Stasha Carey 4-5-13, Kayla Johnson 0-0-0, Savana Jankowski 2-1-6, Tiana Moody 1-1-3, Zoranne Host 3-0-9, Alexis Hope 0-0-0, Maria Carney 0-0-0. Totals 19-8-55.
WESTLAKE (43): Taylor Hood 1-0-2, Corinne Furci 2-3-8, Allison Collins 0-0-0, Monica Fury 5-3-14, Kelly Laraway 1-0-3, Rebecca Essig 3-1-7, Erin O’Neil 1-0-2, Paige Rimko 1-0-2, Mallory Garofolo 2-0-5. Totals 16-7-43.
Berea-Midpark 8 20 13 14 — 55
Westlake 9 15 14 5 — 43
Three-point goals: Berea-Midpark 9-15 (Ziska 4, Host 3, Barnes, Jankowski), Westlake 4-7 (Furci, Fury, Laraway, Garofolo). Field goals: Berea-Midpark 19-42 (45.2 percent), Westlake 16-40 (40 percent). Free throws: Berea-Midpark 8-11 (72.7 percent), Westlake 7-14 (50 percent). Rebounds: Berea-Midpark 42 (Carey 13), Westlake 22 (Fury 10). Turnovers: Berea-Midpark 18, Westlake 14. Total fouls: Berea-Midpark 14, Westlake 11. Fouled out: None.
Junior varsity: Westlake, 48-29.