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It's a great time for two-time state champion Twinsburg to embark on a tough and diverse holiday schedule in girls basketball, but head coach Julie Solis knows how critical league play is.
Twinsburg beat Stow-Munroe Falls 60-36 Dec. 15 and arch-rival Solon 57-37 Dec. 12 behind superb defense to push their record to 3-0 in Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division play.
Remember, the NOC Valley had three teams -- Twinsburg, Solon and Mentor -- reach the Sweet 16 in Ohio Division I last year. Twinsburg has breezed past all three this season.
The Lady Tigers (7-0) had to travel to face another strong league foe -- Hudson (5-1, 2-0) -- on Dec. 19, but results weren't available as of press time.
Senior guard Ashley Morrissette surpassed the 1,000-point plateau in her brilliant career with a third quarter lay up against Stow (4-2, 1-2).
"Ashley has been playing great and it was tremendous for her to reach 1,000 points in her career," said Solis.
Senior guard Brooke Smith led a balanced Tiger attack with 15 points while Morrissette had 14.
Junior wing Baleigh Reid scored 12 while senior post Char-dell Dunnigan scored eight points and snagged 11 rebounds. Senior post Mercedes Hobbs added eight points while junior guard Tranae Conard buried a 3-pointer and sophomore Aloneet Durden also had three points.
"I think one of the reasons why we are playing so well is that these kids play together and play unselfishly," said Solis. "It's a different chemistry with these girls -- they all have similar skills, and we don't have to lean on one player to score all the points. They all get along so well and contribute."
The easy win over Solon (5-1, 1-1) was huge as Twinsburg dominated most of the game.
Twinsburg had the edge on the boards (28-16 with 14 offensive rebounds) and forced 22 turnovers, while only committing eight. The Tigers shut down Solon star Martha Thompson to the tune of five points and one rebound -- all in the first half.
Morrissette poured in 23 points on 10-17 shooting and had only one turnover. She had six thefts and five caroms.
Reid was impressive with her defense and netted 12 points, five boards and two steals. Smith was also strong on defense to go with eight points, five rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots.
Hobbs has been steady as she added six points and eight boards, including five on the offensive glass.
Junior post Marisa Howard sparked the team off the bench with four points and two steals. Dunnigan and Durden also added a hoop.
Solis loves her deep backcourt of Morrissette, Smith, Reid and Durden. Reid has played a lot in the paint and Durden is a youthful wing, but the Tiger staff has plenty of options.
"I like how our guards have been getting in the lane and creating opportunities," added the coach.
Twinsburg is set to host its second annual Fight or Flight Invitational on Dec. 22 and 23. The two-day event features top notch teams and players in the area.
On Dec. 22, the action tips off at 3:30 p.m. as Elyria meets Shaker Heights, followed by Cincinnati Princeton against Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown at 5:15 p.m.
Twinsburg plays Middleburg Heights Midpark at 7 p.m. in a rematch of last year's Division I regional semifinal.
On Dec. 23, Shaker meets North Ridgeville Lake Ridge Academy at 2 p.m., followed by the Ravenna vs. Rocky River Magnificat at 3:45 p.m.
The Tigers play Division II power Toledo Rogers at 5:30 p.m.
Twinsburg will also play in the 18th annual Motor City Roundball Classic at Detroit Country Day High in Beverly Hills, Mich..
In its first game, Twinsburg plays Dec. 28 against Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy at 7:20 p.m. On Dec. 29, the Tigers play Goodrich at 5:40 p.m.