Rebels not waiting
COLUMBIANA — Normally on senior night, the season is coming to a close and teams are preparing for a postseason charge. For Crestview girls basketball, they had their senior night festivities before they had even stepped on the floor for the 2020-21 season.
The Rebels celebrated their senior night Monday with a season-opening 45-37 win over Springfield. With the season in limbo due to COVID-19 concerns, the Rebels made sure they honored the seniors who have given so much to the program.
“I am glad we got to have senior night,” Crestview coach Aaron Blatch said. “Our seniors have been phenomenal for three, going on four, years now, and they certainly deserve to have their moment.”
Senior Krista Perry led the Rebels with 21 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
“It was definitely a weird feeling, just coming out and the feeling was crazy,” Krista Perry said. “You just don’t know what is going to happen with anything right now so I was just happy to play. Me and my teammates were so happy to even get this game in.
“We got the win, so that is the most important part. There are definitely some things we need to work on but we can always worry about that in practice. I am just happy we got the win.”
A win is a win, but both Perry and Blatch know there are things to be ironed out moving forward.
“First of all, I want to give Springfield a lot of credit,” Blatch said. “I thought they were times early that they were a little more physical than we were. I thought as the game went on we picked it up. For everybody, there were so few scrimmages this year so you are coming off a weird offseason where no one got to play summer league and then a weird preseason where we had two scrimmages and I think (Springfield) only had one.
“I think we were all curious as to where our team was at and where players are at,” Blatch said. “We have a ton to work on but as I told them in the locker room, I would much rather learn from a win than a loss.”
Crestview led 16-12 after the first quarter and while Springfield went on a couple of runs, the Rebels lead never felt in jeopardy.
Emily Hill was a late entry to the starting lineup after Mara Halas had to leave the floor before the opening tip due to an apparel issue. Hill finished with 10 first-quarter points and 16 total, including four three-pointers.
“I was really proud of how she stepped up and gave us some offense on a night where we were struggling a little bit,” Blatch said.
For Springfield, they only had seven girls play and had to throw some young girls into larger roles due to injuries to starters Kalee Kosek and Kaila Lamorticella.
“You come into a season hoping that you are firing on all cylinders with all of your girls back,” Springfield coach Jim Schuler said. “Our soccer team had a good run so you are limited on who comes to practice right away so we were a week behind in terms of that.
“To be in the game and within two or three buckets down to the end of the game, I think it was a good first game.”
Jacey Mullens recorded 22 points for Springfield to lead the way for the Tigers.
For both teams, the threat of postponed and canceled games lingers in their thoughts.
“You try to focus on one game at a time, which most people do anyway in normal circumstances,” Schuler said. “Now, I think the emphasis is you don’t know if you are going to be playing tomorrow or if you will be sidelined.
“So we try to emphasize that it could all be taken away in two seconds so lets make the most out of it.”
“The fact that we have a veteran group definitely helps in a year like this,” Blatch said. “I thought Krista Perry was just fantastic tonight. She really helped to steady us, had some good comments in timeouts and led our halftime.
“When we get on the floor, I think things kind of fall into place,” Blatch said. “It’s the outside stuff. Its the bus rides, its the on the bench with masks on and separated. That sort of thing is odd but when we get out there it is 5-on-5, physical and competitive basketball. I am hoping that for our kids and kids everywhere that have had the last year just so screwed up, I am hoping that this can give us a sense of normalcy.
“This is something that they are passionate about and I am hoping we can have a somewhat normal season for them.”
Crestview did not play a junior varsity game due to low numbers for Springfield and will open up the junior varsity season Wednesday against Lisbon.
Both varsity teams play next Monday as Crestview travels to Valley Christian and Springfield hosts Lowellville.
SPRINGFIELD SCORING: Jacey Mullens 9-2-22, Abby Joseph 2-0-6, Ava Vecchione 2-0-5, Madi Lesnak 0-2-2, Peyton Kliem 1-0-2, Emily Gerthung 0-0-0, Aidan Robinette 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 14, 4-5: 37.
CRESTVIEW SCORING: Krista Perry 8-3-21, Emily Hill 6-0-16, Mara Halas 1-0-2, McKenna Schultz 1-0-2, Ashton Hughes 1-0-2, Trinity Miller 1-0-2, Addison Bandy 0-0-0, Payton Huff 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 18, 3-7: 45.
Three-point goals: Springfield 5 (Mullens 2, Joseph 2, Vacchione), Crestview 6 (Hill 4, Perry 2).