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Raiders have more goals in front of them

South Range’s Emma Cunningham, Mallory Vidman, Lexi Giles and Bree Kohler pose for a photo after winning the Div. III district title on Saturday. (Photo by Michael Burich)

GREENFORD – Brookfield’s scrappy play made things interesting but in the end South Range’s experience on the big stage handed the Raiders their second consecutive Div. III district girls basketball championship with a 41-30 victory on Saturday.

The end result was something the Raiders expect as the program has flourished.

“We have kind of set the standard now that this is the game we want to be in every year as a program,” Raiders coach Jeff Fishel said. “Everyone has talked about COVID and adversity, and we have dealt with COVID, shutdowns, and some serious injuries. We probably had more adversity than any team around here, and for us to get through that and be able to cut the nets down on our home court is something these girls will never forget. I’m super proud of them.”

“It’s big winning three out of four districts throughout your high school career,” Raiders senior forward Izzy Lamparty said. “I’m really excited for myself, Bree (Kohler), and Soph (Sophia Lowery). I’m ready to go on Tuesday.”

The Raiders, who improve to 22-4, will advance to play Warrensville Heights at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at Cuyahoga Falls High School. The Warriors close their campaign with an 18-4 record.

The Raiders outscored the Warriors 25-19 in the second half to help distance themselves in the final minutes. Lamparty scored 11 of her game-high 16 points in the third quarter to help the Raiders. They also forced the Warriors to go to their bench often due to mounting fouls on the Warrior starters.

“It was frustrating starting out. I really couldn’t get any shots to fall,” Lamparty remarked about her 1 for 7 shooting in the first half. “But I think I did pretty good going through the game. At halftime, he (Fishel) was yelling at us trying to motivate us. We came out and did a really good job.”

“She’s a beast,” Warriors coach Ken Forsythe said about Lamparty. “We didn’t have anybody that could match up with her. We did our best on her. I don’t know how many points she had, but it didn’t seem like a lot.”

Following a free throw by Katie Logan, the Warriors trailed the Raiders by a single-point at 18-17 early in the third quarter. That is when the Raiders exploded with a 10-0 run, concluding with a bucket in the paint by Lamparty at the 2:17 mark of the period. However, the Warriors closed the frame with a 5-0 run to make it 28-22 at the end of the quarter. Sophia Hook drilled a three at the buzzer to give the Warriors the momentum heading into the final stanza.

The Warriors Audrey Readon cut to the basket for a layup at the 4:17 mark of the fourth quarter to knock their deficit down to just 4-points at 34-30. But that is when the Raiders clamped down on defense and closed the game with a 7-0 run, helped by two clutch baskets by Emma Cunningham to seal the victory.

“We battled them for four quarters in my eyes. I’m not going to take anything away from our girls,” Forsythe said. “They (South Range) have a great team. For us to battle with them for four quarters is a great accomplishment.”

“I definitely expected this. Brookfield is a feisty and scrappy team that plays really hard,” Fishel said. “They are super talented and are very well-coached. We knew it would be a four-quarter battle. Our defense won us the game. We were able to make just enough stops that the game got late enough that they had to go-to man. We got a backdoor (basket) to Emma Cunningham for a layup, that propelled us the last three minutes of the game.”

The Raiders appeared to take control of the game right from the tip-off with a 7-0 run before Sophia Hook hit a jumper to get the Warriors on the scoreboard at the 3:37 mark of the opening quarter. The Raiders would hold a slim 7-6 lead at the end of the period.

The Warriors tied the game just 1:05 into the second quarter, and take their only lead of the game at 11-9 a couple of minutes later on a basket by Readon. But the Raiders responded with a 7-0 run to close the half and carried a 16-11 lead into the halftime locker rooms.

“We had a great season,” Forsythe said. “We’re so young still. I start three sophomores, a junior, and one senior. It will be a work in progress again this summer. I told the girls that we have to take the next step for next year, and that is going to start this spring and summer.”

He added. “Our conference is tough. It’s a big accomplishment for our girls to win the league title and be District runner-up. That’s just a huge success with how young we are.”

Notes

• South Range is the lone returning team in the Cuyahoga Falls regional. Apple Creek Waynedale and Garrettsville Garfield round out the bracket and will play on Wednesday. Waynedale finished 13th in the Div. III Associated Press state poll.

BROOKFIELD: 6-5-11-8-30

SOUTH RANGE: 7-9-12-13-41

BROOKFIELD SCORING: Audrey Readon 3-0-8, Katie Logan 1-7-9, Sophia Hook 2-2-7, Katie Gibson 0-0-0, Anna Reichart 2-0-4, Autumn Sirochman 1-0-0, Mikayla Jumper 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 9, 9-15: 30.

SOUTH RANGE SCORING: Izzy Lamparty 6-4-16, Bree Kohler 0-3-3, Mallory Vidman 4-1-9, Emma Cunningham 2-0-4, Alexis Giles 2-3-7, Hannah Heikkinen 0-2-2, Taylor McClish 0-0-0, Hannah Crouse 0-0-0 . TEAM TOTALS: 14, 13-28: 41

Three-point goals: Brookfield 3 (Reardon 2, Hook 1), South Range none

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