Blue Devils run past Red Knights

TORONTO — The Toronto girls basketball team battled for three quarters against Lisbon on Monday, but the Red Knights ran out of gas in the fourth.

The Blue Devils kicked it into high gear, en route to a 51-37 victory in an Eastern Ohio Athletic League matchup at the George J. Gunzler Memorial Gymnasium.

Lisbon outscored Toronto, 17-5, in the decisive fourth quarter. The Blue Devils led by as many as 16 points in the quarter.

“We just talked about the fourth quarter,” Toronto (7-8) head coach Rusty Hodgkiss said. “I asked the kids about it, and they did not want to admit it, but I think we got gassed. When your legs get tired, your head gets tired. We made some easy mistakes, we missed some layups and we missed some free throws.

“We did not move our feet well defensively in the fourth quarter. We got tired, and we fouled them. They were 11 of 14 from the foul line in the fourth quarter. That is a team that made it to the regional semifinals last year. You are not going to win against them when you play like that.”

Lisbon led by just two entering the fourth quarter before the Blue Devils regained control of the game.

“We got caught in our press, so we pulled out of the press and started to play man-to-man,” Lisbon (10-4, 8-2) head coach Jamie Entrikin said. “Toronto did a nice job. We do not play a ton of man. Ultimately, we went back to a 2-3 zone, and that gave Toronto trouble.”

The Blue Devils led by as many as 11 points in the first quarter before the Red Knights battled back and tied the score at halftime. Lisbon scored back-to-back baskets to break a 28-28 tie and held the lead from that point.

Three players scored in double digits to lead the way for Lisbon. Standout junior point guard Izzy Perez produced a game-high 18 points, Chloe Smith collected 13 and Cadee Johnson tallied 10.

“Perez had 11 at halftime, and we challenged Jo’Zaeyah (Jordan),” Hodgkiss said. “Jo’Zaeyah is a really good basketball player, and she is a phenomenal 1-on-1 defender. We challenged her to do that, and she held her to one field goal in the second half. The rest of her points came at the foul line.

“Lisbon wants to get it out run. We knew Izzy likes to play in transition. We pressed when she was off of the floor. She likes playing in transition, so we did not press when she was on the floor. Pressing helps her, and we did not want to help her.”

Kendal Thomas tallied a team-high 11 points to lead Toronto, while Riley Kinsey recorded nine.

The Red Knights led early, but the Blue Devils ripped off a 13-1 run to build a 16-5 lead in the first and later led 18-9 at the end of the quarter. Perez scored nine points in the frame.

“We moved in the press at the start of the game,” Entrikin said. “When we got up by 11, we quit moving, and we committed silly fouls. We had people in spots they normally are not in. Our rotations broke down. They did a nice job on the boards. They were able to get some put backs.”

Toronto turned the tables on Lisbon in the second, as it outscored the Blue Devils, 17-9, to rally and tie the score at halftime thanks to a pair of foul shots by Jordan.

“I was ticked with our effort tonight,” Hodgkiss said. “I was embarrassed the other night. We talk about the three Es — energy, effort and enthusiasm. We did not play with a lot of energy Thursday against United. I was happy with our effort tonight. We just lost our legs.”

The Blue Devils raced past the Red Knights in the first, but Toronto changed things up in the second by slowing down, enabling the hosts to get back into the game.

“Foul shots and missed layups,” Hodgkiss said regarding the difference. “I thought we did not play with a lot of enthusiasm Thursday. We played with more tonight. Lisbon is a good team, and we went toe-to-toe with them, and we slugged it out with them. They were just a little too much tonight. Chloe Smith also had a real nice game for them tonight.”

Toronto is scheduled to play Wednesday night at home against rival Catholic Central.

“That’s the one,” Hodgkiss said. “We circle that one on our calendars, and we circle it on our schedule. It has not worked out for us in the last three years. We get one more shot at them this year. We’ll see. I hope the team that showed up tonight is the one that shows up Wednesday and not the one that showed up when we went to Catholic Central. It was on a Saturday, and we played like cartoons.”

Meanwhile, Lisbon is scheduled to play Friday night at home against Columbiana as part of a girls and boys doubleheader.

Toronto won the jayvee game, 37-25. Jensyn Jackson scored a game-high 13 points to lead the way for the Red Knights. Bryanna VanGiesen netted nine points to lead Lisbon.

LISBON: 18-8-8-17 — 51

TORONTO: 9-17-6-5 — 37

LISBON (10-4): Perez 6 5-6 18; Johnson 4 2-4 10; Smith 4 5-6 13; Steed 0 0-0 0; Vrable 0 1-2 1; Liberati 2 3-4 7; Freeman 1 0-0 2; Henthorne 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 17, 16-22: 51.

TORONTO (7-8): Cottrell 0 1-4 1; Kinsey 4 1-2 9; Jordan 2 2-5 7; McDonald 0 0-2 0; Anderson 3 1-2 7; Jackson 0 0-0 0; Thomas 3 4-4 11; Smith 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 13, 9-19: 37.

Three-point goals: Lisbon 1 (Perez); Toronto 2 (Jordan, Thomas).

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