Pezzano shatters scoring record
LISBON — Ever since the Beaver Local girls basketball team fell to Lisbon in double-overtime a month ago, the Beavers have been hungry to get another chance at the 15th-ranked Blue Devils.
“The girls were very motivated tonight, they felt like we got robbed in the first game,” Beaver Local coach Stephanie Coie said. “They’ve been talking about it all week at practice and they came out with a total team effort tonight.”
The Beavers took the fight to the Blue Devils right out of the gate Saturday and led wire-to-wire for a satisfying 75-61 victory at Nace Gymnasium.
The Beavers improve to 14-5 overall. The Blue Devils have lost three of their last four games and fall to 15-4.
“Tonight was a really big win for us. We wanted it pretty bad after last time,” Beaver Local point guard Kierra Taylor said.
For the Blue Devils, the high point of the night came late in the third quarter when senior Karlee Pezzano knocked down a three-pointer to become the school’s all-time girls basketball scoring leader, surpassing Erica Sims (class of 2007). Pezzano needed 11 points coming into the game to break Sims’ mark and wound up with 23 points, five assists and eight steals. She now has 1,150 career points.
“It was a big goal of mine. It’s something that I’ve been looking at since I hit 1,000,” Pezzano said. “I tried my best not to think about it tonight, though. I just wanted to focus on getting the win.”
Beaver Local’s tenacious defense handcuffed Pezzano and the Blue Devils during a first half that saw the Beavers build a 36-22 lead.
Pezzano had just two points in the first half as a rotating cast of defenders did a fine job walling her off from the ball.
“We just wanted to keep the ball out of her hands as much as possible,” Coie said. “Lexi Merriman did a fantastic job against her, Emily Monte did a good job. Everybody played their role tonight.”
The Blue Devils were off track right from the beginning as they turned the ball over seven times in the first four minutes of the game and shot 28 percent from the floor in the first half. Lisbon finished with 25 turnovers for the game.
“We did a good job staying in front and not reaching in,” Taylor said. “We’re getting better and better on defense as the season goes on.”
On offense, the Beavers continually beat Lisbon down the floor for layups and also ran their half-court sets with precision.
“We typically don’t run much of a half-court offense because we try to get points in transition, but the girls did a really nice job of running things in the half-court tonight,” Coie said.
“We moved the ball around a lot and were able to finish,” Taylor said. “We took a lot of good shots tonight.”
Beaver Local frequently pounded the ball down low to the forward tandem of Jenna Riccardo (19 points, nine rebounds) and Madison Roberts (16 points, 10 rebounds), while Taylor was aggressive from the point guard spot with 18 points, six assists and five steals.
“Kierra’s playing fantastic basketball right now” Coie said. “We’ve been encouraging her to take these little shots she’s been making. She just has to keep playing exactly the way she is. She’s being a leader out there on the floor.”
Mackenzie Mason added 15 points and 14 rebounds for Lisbon, while Hailee Carpenter provided some nice production off the bench with 10 points and eight boards.
The Beavers’ lead got as large as 52-28 halfway through the third quarter before the Blue Devils came battling back. Lisbon whittled the lead down to 15 by the end of the third, before a 10-2 run to start the fourth sliced the margin to 62-55 with 5:07 left.
Beaver Local, however, was able to weather the storm. A three-point play by Riccardo and four quick points by Madison Cline put the Beavers back in control, 71-57, with 2:46 left.
As the clock ticked down, the Beaver fans rewarded their team with a standing ovation.
“Beaver Local has a nice team; they beat us down the floor at both ends,” Lisbon coach Jamie Entrikin said. “I think this is good for us. It exposed some things that we’re not good at. It will make us go back to work Monday and try and get better.”
Beaver Local is at Parkersburg South for an OVAC tournament game Monday, while Lisbon hosts McDonald Thursday.
¯With the tournament draw set for today, Entrikin said the Blue Devils will be the third-seed in the Struthers Division III district, with Columbiana getting the top seed, followed by Youngtown Ursuline at two. Cardinal Mooney is fourth.
“It’s a tough district. There’s five or six pretty good teams,” Entrikin said. “We’re going to sit down and discuss our strategy tonight. It should be interesting.”
¯Lisbon honored Pezzano, Mason, Alli Davis and Alexa Bell as part of senior night before the game.
¯Beaver Local won the jayvee game 39-38. Danica Taylor led the Beavers with 12 points. Leslie Burnip had 12 points for the Blue Devils.
BEAVER SCORING: Kierra Taylor 7-4-18, Madison Roberts 5-6-16, Madison Cline 2-4-8, Jenna Riccardo 6-7-19, Lexie Hilliard 1-0-2, Emily Beck 1-1-3, Lexi Merriman 4-0-9. TEAM TOTALS: 26, 22-28: 75.
LISBON SCORING: Karlee Pezzano 11-0-23, Mackenzie Mason 6-3-15, Alli Davis 0-0-0, Alexa Bell 0-0-0, Autumn Oehlstrom 1-2-4, Chloe Smith 0-0-0, Izzy Perez 2-3-7, Maddie Liberati 1-0-2, Abby Davis 0-0-0, Hailee Carpenter 3-4-10. TEAM TOTALS: 24, 12-21: 61.
Three-point goals: Beaver Local 1 (Merriman), Lisbon 1 (Pezzano).