COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WYTV) – In a battle between two undefeated squads and first place in the ITCL’s White Tier on the line, it was the Columbiana Clippers that withstood a late charge from the Blue Devils to prevail 68-62.
With the victory the Clippers improve to 14-0 on the season and 3-0 in league play. The Devils drop to 11-1, and 2-1 in the ITCL.
The Clippers led by as much as 12 points at the 5:54 mark of the fourth quarter, but that is when the Devils made a ferocious come back attempt. It was at that point that the Clippers sophomore forward Kenndy Fullum fouled out of the game and received a techinical for protesting the call as she fouled Alexa Bell trying to drive to the bucket.
“That was a big loss with Kennedy Fullum. When she went out of the game she heard a few things from me,” Clipper coach Ron Moschella said with a grin. “When she got that technical that really cost us. And it hurts us when she is out of the game.”
From that point the Devils went on an 12-5 run to cut the deficit down to just 5-points at the 3:32 mark of the final quarter. It was the Devils’ Karlee Pezzano who converted a old fahioned three pointer by scoring on a layup and adding a free throw to reach the 60-55 score. That layup bucket marked 1,000 points scored by Pezzano in her career.
“It was a dream of mine,” Pezzano said. “I watched two other (Lisbon) girls do it and it was a dream of mine.”
“She is like a silent assain,” Devils coach Jamie Entrikin remarked about Pezzano. “She has been around the gym since she was little. Her dad was a coach, she has played AAU, she has done so much to make herself better.”
Two minutes later, the Devils’ Mackenzie Mason powered her way to to the basket to score and get the Devils to within just 3-points at 63-60. But that was as close as the Devils could get as the Clippers Alexis Cross and Brittany Mook each scored key buckets in the final minute of the game to put out the final 6-point margin.
“We dug too big of a hole,” Devils coach Jamie Entrikin remarked. “Our girls have a lot of heart. They almost dug themselves back out of it.”
The entire game was back and forth with the Clippers leading 16-13 after the first period of play. The Clippers would push their advantage in the second period as they went up by as much as 8-points at the 1:02 mark of the stanza when freshman sensation Kayla Musloski scored a bucket. The Clippers led 30-24 at the halftime break.
Muslovski led the Clippers 20 points on the night including several steals and converted buckets off of the turnovers. Aexis Cross added 17 points for the Clipers while Taylor Hall chipped in another 13. Kennedy Fullum led the Clippers on the boards with 6 rebounds while Cross had 5.
“She is a heck of player,” Moshella praised Muslovski. “She has an absolute natural instinct for the basketball. And she loves the game, she really does. We’re really proud of her and she adds to our team.”
It appeared that the Clippers may run a way with the game in the third quarter as they started the period with an 12-6 run to lead by as much as 12-points at 42-30. That 12-point lead occured at the 4:09 mark of the frame. The Clippers hit their biggest lead of the game at the end of the third quarter when Cross hit a bucket with only 3-seconds remaining in the period to give the Clippers a 17-point, 53-36.
Entrikin admitted that the loss of two key players hurt his team in depth and how they play, “Chloe (Smith) has a fractured foot and she is out two more weeks, and Izzy (Perez) had a concussion at Beaver Local and she is out until next Monday. It affected us in how we like to play. We tried to concerve energy by playing in the half court instead of the full court. When the game got away from us a little bit we decided to just go do what we do. And we sort of dug our way back into it.”
Pezzano scored 20 points to lead the Devils in the scorebooks, while Mackenzie Mason added 12 and Autumn Oehlstrom chipped in with 9. Mason also grabbed 9 rebounds to pace the Devils on the boards.
The Clippers also captured the jayvee games as they won handly with a 66-30 score.