PERRY—Corenna Maynard scored a game-high 21 points and also shut down Geneva’s top scorers to lead Kenston to a 54-44 win in Monday’s district semifinal at Perry High School.
“Corenna is our leader,” said Kenston coach John Misenko. “She’s a Player of the Year candidate in the (Western Reserve Conference). She should get any awards that people can vote on. She should be in the running for all of that. She’s a phenomenal basketball player. She’s the heart and soul of what we do and she has a knack for hitting big shots.”
Maynard was a big reason for Kenston holding Geneva to 10 points less than their season scoring average, but she wasn’t the only Bomber to lock down the Eagles.
“Everybody played well today,” Misenko said. “Kate Taylor had some big steals and breakaway layups. Julie Hajdu played great defensively and got some turnovers as well. I thought Rachel (Apshago) did a nice job given the fact that she was battling foul trouble on and off. Maddie Spehn was huge for us. She didn’t play our last game against Shaw so she was back today. I wasn’t sure what we would get, but she was huge for us, made some free throws, defended their post really well. Marcie Oglesbee stepped up and did a nice job. I’m just extremely proud of them. They did everything I asked and they deserve it. I’m just so happy for them.”
Oglesbee contributed nine points to the win and Hajdu and Taylor both finished with seven.
Meanwhile, Geneva struggled to find its offensive rhythm.
“We never got into any kind of flow on either end of the floor,” said Geneva coach Nancy Barbo. “Things that we hang our hat on, we weren’t able to capitalize on at all this game and that’s a credit to Kenston.”
Kenston took control of the momentum early in the second quarter when Geneva standout Hailey Peoples picked up her third foul.
The Bombers, who led 18-14 at the time, closed out the half on a 10-3 run to take a 28-17 lead into the locker room.
“With her out and then, and not wanting to make excuses, our point guard had an ankle injury that she was not 100-percent so she couldn’t play defense the way we needed her to and she is key for us,” Barbo said. “That was just another thing going against us, Hailey getting her third foul and our other post player getting her second foul early on, it was just like a snowball effect.”
Geneva outscored the Bombers in the second half, 27-26, but the early deficit was too much for the Eagles to overcome.
“I felt we needed to get stops,” Barbo said. “I’d like to think that we are a good defensive team. We have been a great defensive team at times this year. It just seemed like anytime we made a basket they came down and either got a transition or an offensive rebound or whatever it may be and it just kind of took the wind out of our sails each time. We weren’t able to put together a string of stops in a row.”
Kenston’s defense prevented Geneva from making a significant run.
Peoples finished with a team-high 17 points and freshman Abby Carter was held to just seven after scoring 17 against the Bombers during the regular season.
“We really wanted to focus on slowing down Abby Carter and she had seven points,” Misenko said. “I think she had 19 the previous game so Corenna took that personal that a freshman wasn’t going to score 19 points on a senior. Plus, I think that Corenna is the best defensive player in Northeast Ohio. She proved that today. I thought Kate Taylor did a great job defensively. Julie Hajdu did a great job defensively. We’re going to win games playing defense. When we play defense the way we did, we’re really good.”
The Bombers will need another strong defensive effort in Thursday’s district championship game against WRC rival North.
The Rangers beat the Bombers twice during the regular season.
“We know them and they know us,” Misenko said. “You know what is good though, I’m really proud of, is the fact that a WRC team is going to win this district. That’s awesome because we haven’t had one since the WRC was formed. Regardless of who wins the game on Thursday, It’s going to be a new champion and it’s great for the conference and it’s great for North as well as us.”
Kenston improved to 17-7 while Geneva closed out its season with a 21-4 mark.