STRUTHERS - The Struthers girls' basketball team is known as an outstanding program in the All-American Conference, and on Thursday night at the Struthers Fieldhouse the Wildcats proved that point with a resounding, 76-24, victory over Beaver Local.
The win pushed the Wildcats record to 9-0, while the Beavers drop to 1-7.
"I have very good players," Wildcats' head coach John Grady admitted. "They are very unselfish. I like the way they pass the ball to one another, and they generally like one another. It's a good group and we have some experience."
Beaver Local head coach J.R. Wlaker talks to his team Thursday night at Struthers. (Photo by Lowell Spencer)
The Wildcats ambushed the Beavers in the first quarter when they jumped out to a 16-0 lead less than three minutes into the contest.
The Beavers first basket came at the 4:37 mark when sophomore Courtney Ricciardi scored her first of a team-high eight points.
"I love watching Struthers play," Beavers' head coach J.R. Walker said.
Struthers 76, Beaver Local 24
BL 10-06-06-02 - 24
ST 23-22-13-18 - 76
BL (24): Tannar Dolhun 1 2-2 4, Danna Talbott 1 2-2 4, Courtney Ricciardi 4 0-3 8, Maranda Kiddey 0 0-2 0, Jade Favre 1 0-0 2, Ravenna Cianni 1 1-2 3, Sierra Wright 1 0-2 2, Bobbie Ann Theiss 0 1-2 1. Totals: 9 6-15 24.
ST (76): Ryan 5 0-1 12, Hefferon 6 0-0 13, Kain 1 0-0 2, Shives 6 1-1 14, Penz 2 0-0 4, H. Kain 2 0-0 4, Nored 2 0-0 4, Zupko 3 0-0 6, Thomas 1 0-0 2, A. Kain 2 2-2 7, Smrek 3 0-4 6, Leonard 0 1-2 1. Totals: 28 5 4-10 76.
3-Pointers: Struhers 5 (Ryan 2, Hefferon, A. Kain, Shives)
"They are nice aggressive, physical basketball team. They shoot, they put the time in during the summer, and John Grandy is a friend of mine. I feel lucky to say that. I love the way he teaches and the way he coaches."
As far as the play of his sophomore point guard, Walker admitted that she has been thrown into the fire this year.
"Courtney's a work in progress because she is a sophomore, and I have put her into a tough situation, 'Your my point guard,'" he said. "And I think Courtney has handled it great. But I think she is going to be a very good point guard through this year, and until she graduates."
Following the tough first quarter in which the Beavers trailed 23-10, the Wildcats continued to pour it on in the second stanza by outscoring the Beavers 22-6.
The Wildcats Halle Smrek would add insult to injury at the buzzer by draining a three pointer, giving the Cats a commanding 45-16 halftime lead.
To the Beavers credit they settled things down in the third quarter, but still trailed by 36-points with the Cats leading 58-22. The Wildcats would close the contest by going on a 18-2 run to close out the 52-point margin.
The Cats were led by juniors McKenna Shives with 14 points, Ashleigh Ryan with 12, and senior Ashley Hefferon with 13 points on the night.
Other than Ricciardi's eight points, Tannar Dolhun and Danna Talbott each chipped in four points for the Beavers.
"Everything kind of snowballed today," Grady said. "I think J.R. is doing a good job with Beaver Local. They're young, they're working hard, they never quit during the game. So I give a lot of praise to them."
The loss was another tough one for the Beavers.
"I don't like get beat like that, and it's my job and my team's job to stop that," Walker said.
"We're just not getting it done right now. We went out behind the bard and got a whopping. Now the positives starts tomorrow. Now if we can get something positive starting tomorrow, then there still a lot of season left, so that's the positive (about this game)."
The Wildcats won the JV game, 51-22. Dolhun netted four points for the Beavers.
Beaver Local will play Thursday at home against Poland.