Wildcats roar back to beat Brush

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Mayfield Girls Basketball

Saturday’s loss to Steubenville Catholic Central didn’t sit well with the Mayfield girls’ basketball team.

The Wildcats responded to that setback with a thrilling come from behind 65-56 win at Brush on Wednesday.

“I’m a firm believer that you need bounce-back games,” said Mayfield coach Ryan Looman. “We had a heart to heart talk on Tuesday and we spent about an hour talking to the team about where we want to be in the second half of the season. Everybody kind of was on board with the same unified message of we’re not where we want to be yet and we’ve got a lot of work to do to get to that point. I think tonight was a great first step in that direction.”

With the win, the Wildcats snapped a three-game losing skid and improved to 5-5 overall and 4-1 in the Western Reserve Conference.

“It was a great pick me up because after losing a game we should’ve won, we finally put a win under our belt that shows everyone the team we want to be,” said Katelyn Kinczel, who scored 13 points and pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds. “Throughout the season, we haven’t had a full game when we were playing 100-percent, but this game we finally did. This game was huge because we now can see what happens when we play 100-percent and we can use this big win as a momentum boost for our upcoming games.”

Things weren’t going Mayfield’s way early as the Arcs built a 15-12 first quarter lead then stretched that advantage out to 27-19 at halftime.

The Wildcats didn’t panic.

They responded with a third-quarter run and used a Catherine Rock layup at the buzzer to pull to within 43-42 with eight minutes left to play.

“I don’t think there were many adjustments made on either side,” Looman said of the difference between the first half and second half scoring. “I know when we walked into the locker room at halftime our message was to keep playing and keep plugging away.”

Rock’s layup may have been the tipping point for the Wildcats.

“We were down eight at the half and then we made a little bit of a run in the third quarter. Brush came back and answered and they had a lot of the momentum,” Looman said. “They hit a bucket to go up 43-40 with 10 seconds to go. Catherine came right back down to hit a layup to make it a one point game. The girls saw that and you could see their spirits become uplifted a little bit. We made a great run and had to keep playing and keep pushing forward.”

Mayfield outscored Brush, 23-11, in the fourth quarter to pull out the win.

“This was a big game for us,” Looman said. “It was a rivalry game in a great environment over there against a great team. What we continued to talk to our kids about was our last four losses, their combined record was 40-7, so it wasn’t like we were losing to bad basketball teams. We had to learn to get over the hump and play four quarters of basketball and that’s what we did. This was probably our most complete game, so we’re hoping that effort can carry us into what is really the bulk of our conference schedule in the second half.”

Julia DeBaltzo led the Wildcats with 20 points while Rock finished with 10 and Juls Consolo contributed with eight, none more important than the free throws she hit in the fourth quarter.

“That was one of the most exciting games I’ve been a part of,” Consolo said. “It was a very hostile environment and coming back in that atmosphere made the excitement even greater. The confidence I had stepping up to that free throw line came from nothing but the trust my teammates, coaches and myself have for me.”

Leah Nerone and Bella DeJohn pitched in with seven and six points, respectively.

“Our two seniors off the bench came in and gave us great minutes,” Looman said. “Leah Nerone, I think she had three steals to go with seven points. Bella DeJohn hit two big 3s in the first half for us to keep the game within reach. If she doesn’t hit those shots, now an eight point game becomes a double-digit lead for them and who knows what would have happened at that point. I was incredibly happy with how they kept us in the flow.”

In addition to her 10 points, Rock pulled down seven rebounds, recorded two steals and turned the ball over just twice, despite facing pressure throughout the game.

“I was really happy with Catherine tonight,” Looman said. “She almost single-handedly brought the ball up against Brush’s press. She had two turnovers, so to do that throughout the course of the game, I was really happy.”

Mayfield travels to Chardon on Wednesday.

Mayfield 65, Brush 56

Mayfield (5-5, 4-1): DeBaltzo 20, Kinczel 13, Rock 10, Consolo 8, Nerone 7, DeJohn 6, Fredrickson 1.

Brush (4-7, 3-2): Sanders 28, Johnson 12, Perry 9, Jeter 4, Lester 3.

Mayfield 12 7 23 23 – 65
Brush 15 12 16 11 – 56

Free throws: Mayfield 15/27, Brush 5/9; 3-pointers: Mayfield 10 ( DeBaltzo 5, DeJohn 2, Nerone, Consolo, Kinczel) Brush 11 ( Sanders 6, Johnson 4, Perry 1) ; Rebounds – Mayfield 30 (Kinczel 10, Rock 7, Fredrickon 6), Assists: Mayfield 10 (Rock 4, Consolo 3), Steals: Mayfield 8 (Nerone 3)

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The creator and publisher of OhioVarsity.com, 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 IrishIllustrated.com, a member of the Scout.com network of high school and college sports web sites. He focuses on covering Notre Dame football recruiting. OhioVarsity.com was created in 2004 and was a member of the Rivals.com 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.