MAYFIELD—Mayfield coach Ryan Looman was looking forward to Saturday’s non-conference matchup against Steubenville Catholic Central for many reasons, including the chance to coach against his sister Jess, the head coach of the Crusaders, and his father Ed, an assistant to his daughter.
Early in the game, it looked as if the Wildcats were on their way to a big win but the Crusaders rallied back for a 58-44 victory.
“It was nice playing against them and seeing them, but it’s a game we should have won,” Ryan Looman said. “I’m a competitive person. I hate to lose. I don’t care if we lose to a team from California or to my sister, it doesn’t matter. A loss is a loss. Instead of being 5-4, we’re 4-5.”
Behind 11 first quarter points from Julia DeBaltzo, the Wildcats built a 22-10 lead and stretched that advantage to as many as 15 in the second quarter.
Jess Looman inserted her towering post players, Brantley Turnage, who at 6-foot-4 towered over everyone else on the court, and the 6-foot Hannah Olszewski.
That changed the game as the Wildcats struggled to pull down rebounds on both ends of the court. The Crusaders closed out the game with a 56-22 advantage on the glass.
“They’re rebounding edge wasn’t because of a lack of hustle or a lack of talent, it was that they wanted it more,” Ryan Looman said. “We played one good quarter of basketball but the biggest thing that hurt us, we gave up, plain and simple. We did not play hard enough and we did not put out nearly the effort and intensity that’s needed to win a basketball game.”
Catholic Central outscored the Wildcats in the second quarter, 17-11, to pull to within 33-27 at halftime.
Mayfield scored just 11 points in the final 16 minutes of play.
DeBaltzo finished with 16 points while Kaitlyn Kinczel led the Wildcats with 17. Mayfield’s leading scorers combined for just seven points in the second half.
“Shooting’s hot and cold,” Looman said. “I’ll still put my money on those two with a wide open look any day of the week, but when shots aren’t falling, something we have been stressing is we have to create ball movement, we have to create player movement. They were in a zone primarily the entire game and we have to get downhill and attack that zone. If we’re not going to be aggressive enough in attacking it, it limits our looks. I thought we had way too many empty possessions where we weren’t getting quality looks at the hoop and that came back to bite us. Our effort on the offensive end when things did go cold led to a lack of effort on the defensive end.”
Mayfield lost its third straight game and it won’t get easier when the Wildcats get back on the court next week as they travel to Brush.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” Looman said. “They’re all great kids and I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face, they make us proud with the quality and character that they have, but sometimes they’re too nice. We preach you have to be a shark in the water and when there’s blood you’ve got to go after it and get it. We didn’t do that in the first quarter.”
Steubenville Catholic Central 58, Mayfield 44
Steubenville CC (10-1): Zatta 6, Turnage 7, Dombrowski 15, Taglione 8, Oliver 12, Godich 10
Mayfield (4-5, 3-1 WRC): Kinczel 17, DeBaltzo 16, Nerone 3, Consolo 3, Rock 2, Prevesk 1, O’Neal 2
SCC 10 17 19 12 — 58
Mayfield 22 11 5 6 — 44
Free throws: SCC 13 of 20, Mayfield 7 of 17; 3-pointers: SCC 1 (Dombrowski 1), Mayfield 7 (DeBaltzo 4, Kinczel 2, Consolo 1); Rebounds: SCC 56, Mayfield 22 (Kinczel 5, Fredrickson 5); Assists: Mayfield 6 (Rock 3)