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    Rebels struggle in season opener


    WILLOUGHBY—South’s long-awaited season opener ended with a disappointing 45-29 loss to visiting Lake Catholic on Wednesday.

    Down one starter and with several new faces in the lineup, the Rebels struggled to find their rhythm on the offensive end.

    “I’ve got to chalk it up to the first outing,” said South coach Mike Coreno. “We haven’t even had 10 girls that we couldn’t scrimmage against each other. First, we weren’t allowed due to COVID and then we didn’t have 10, so playing 5-on-5, we just weren’t in sync.”

    Lake Catholic took a 12-5 lead after the first quarter but the Rebels had their chances. They just couldn’t get their shots to fall.

    “When they don’t fall, we’ve got to go back and play defense,” Coreno said. “We had some blown assignments and then next thing you know, we’re down 10 or 15 points and we just couldn’t dig ourselves out of the hole.”

    Despite their offensive struggles, the Rebels trailed just 19-10 at halftime.

    The Cougars, who improved to 5-3 with their fourth straight win, put together a run midway through the third quarter that increased their lead to 33-17 with eight minutes remaining in the game.

    “It was only 19-10 at halftime so I wasn’t panicking,” Coreno said. “By the end of the third quarter, I knew we were in trouble but I have to give them credit. You could see our lack of game experience because we had one starter out and we started three kids who have never started varsity before, so you can see the mistakes.”

    Mia Sassano and Olivia Skalicki both scored in double figures for the Cougars with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Ali Hudik contributed with nine points and Ella Hadley added six.

    South had just one player with more than six points as Kailey Minch led the Rebels with 15 points. Emma Wolnough finished with five points and Jada Hopps scored four for the Rebels.

    Sharpshooter Grace Woodcock saw limited action in the game.

    “She’s huge for our team from a standpoint of game experience,” Coreno said of Minch. “She’s running the point for us and it’s hard, too, because when we do have Grace, that will free Kailey up for more shots. We had to get creative and put her in the middle to try to get her some more looks.”

    South looks to bounce back on Saturday at Mayfield.

    Steve Hare
    The creator and publisher of, Hare has covered high school sports in Northeast Ohio since 1997. He began as a correspondent for the Lake County News Herald, where he contributed until 2011, primarily covering high school football and wrestling. In 1999, Hare began writing for, a member of the network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. was created in 2004 and was a member of the network until 2012. The site's original purpose was to cover Ohio high school football and recruiting news but since has grown to cover all sports and to provide sports information services to high school athletic programs and individual teams. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.
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