Walsh Jesuit’s energetic defense never allowed Kent Roosevelt to establish itself at the offensive end, and the Warriors cruised to a 58-33 win in a Division I sectional semifinal at Ellet High School on Wednesday night.
Walsh’s guards came up with nine steals in the first half, and the Warriors altered nearly every shot inside. Walsh (16-7) opened the game on an 18-1 run and held a struggling Roosevelt in the teens for most of the game.
“Especially in the beginning, I thought we were playing well defensively,” Walsh coach Pete Zaccari said. “We came out with a lot of energy and we were playing hard.”
Sophomore Anna Hall and senior Jessica Gilberto each had three steals, and senior Sophia Simone added two more. Hall also scored a team-high 13 points and had 11 in the first half alone to go along with two assists. Gilberto finished the game with 11 points and Simone had nine. Sophomore Lilli Piper facilitated much of that offense, scoring nine points herself and handing out five assists. The Warriors scoring with balance means the offense is running as it should.
“We usually have a lot of balance and we were able to have that tonight,” Zaccari said. “That’s when we’re at our best, when everyone gets the ball, everyone scores, everyone gets their touches.”
Roosevelt (14-9) was led by sophomore Brianna Rock (12 points) and senior Audrey Coyne (nine points).
Walsh will face Stow in the sectional final at Ellet on Saturday.
Hudson 67, Warren Howland 35
Like Walsh in the game before them, the Explorers brought their defense. Hudson opened the game on a 19-6 run and led 37-13 in the half in its Division I sectional semifinal against Warren Howland.
Midway through the third quarter, Hudson (18-5) still had more forced turnovers (18) than points allowed (16).
“We haven’t seen [that level of defense] in a while,” Hudson coach Dennis Lawler said. “We got a lot of hands on balls. We played the way we’re capable of playing. Putting pressure on the ball, active hands, everything.”
Hudson had been riding a three-game losing streak after ending the regular season with a tough stretch that included Mentor, Solon and Twinsburg, three of the top teams in the division. Wednesday night became about re-establishing the Explorers’ brand of basketball.
“It was good to get back to playing the way we play,” Lawler said. “We had a lot of effort. That’s what we talked about [last week]. Getting back to giving a lot of effort and I thought we did that.”
Senior Hannah Boesinger and junior Kristen Mummey led Hudson offensively with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Boesinger also had three steals and Mummey had four blocks. Senior Brynne Drohan added 12 points and two steals, and junior Jackie Ulmer scored eight points and had four steals (three in the first three minutes of the game).
“We got back to doing everything we’re supposed to do,” Lawler said.
“We’d been struggling shooting, that’s been our problem the last two games [25 and 22 percent]. We’ve talked about our defense leads to our offense. We didn’t get a lot of easy buckets [in previous games] because we weren’t getting those transition baskets, and being patient, and working the ball.”
Hudson will play Nordonia on Saturday in the sectional final.