Tiger girls defeat defending Michigan state champion

by Steve Batko | Correspondent Published:

Thanks to superb guard play, the Twinsburg girls basketball team moved to 12-0 this year by winning two games at the 18th annual Motor City Roundball Classic at Detroit Country Day High in Beverly Hills, Mich.

The four-day event took place Dec. 27-30. The Tigers went 2-0 in their first ever appearance in the boys and girls hoop extravaganza.

On Dec. 29, Twinsburg beat Goodrich High 62-48 to snap the Martians' 34-game winning streak.

Goodrich, which has as many as six major college recruits on its roster, fell to 6-1 this year after going 28-0 last year and winning the Michigan Class B state title.

"It was a very good event and the second game against Goodrich was a very good test for us," said Twinsburg head coach Julie Solis. "Goodrich has several very good players.

"Our execution was extremely good and our guards played extremely well."

In the event's first game for the Tigers, Twinsburg won 72-40 over Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy (3-5) on Dec. 28.

Senior guard Brooke Smith scored 22 points for Twinsburg over Chandler Park and was named the game Most Valuable Player by tournament officials.

Senior guard Ashley Morrissette earned MVP honors in the second game against Goodrich.

For the event, Smith amassed 39 total points, Morrissette had 34, and junior guard Baleigh Reid had 30.

"Brooke Smith played extremely well in both games -- Ashley was tremendous against Goodrich, and Baleigh was strong as well," said Solis.

"All three of our guards played at a high level," she added.

Goodrich was without guard Aketa Sevillian (Penn State), who is out with a season-ending ACL injury.

However, the Martians still return 5-8 guard Taylor Gleason (Illinois) and 18-point scorer Tania Davis, a nationally-ranked sophomore guard.

Plus, there's also Jessica Ashby, who hit a three-pointer at the buzzer for Goodrich the night before as Goodrich beat East Lansing (6-1) 58-57 in the Portland Mid-Michigan Girls Basketball Showcase finale.

Gleason, who had 16 points, five rebounds and four thefts against Twinsburg, helped Goodrich actually post a brief lead over the Lady Tigers in the first quarter and early in the second.

Goodrich led 20-18 after the first quarter, but the Martians managed just 28 points the rest of the way.

Twinsburg only allows 41.1 points a game with its sterling man defense and in the win over Chandler Park, the Tigers had an 71-30 advantage in shot attempts.

In the win over Goodrich, Morrissette poured in 18 points, Smith had 17 and Reid added 13 as she hit 4-6 from the field and was 5-5 at the free throw line. Twinsburg shot 53 percent from the field.

"Baleigh has really been so consistent this season and she's doing it all over -- playing in the post, running the point, and all over the court," said Solis.

Senior Char-dell Dunnigan had six points for the Tigers while junior Marisa Howard scored four, senior Mercedes Hobbs had two, and sophomore Aloneet Durden had two. Davis added 13 for Goodrich.

Smith was a blazing 9-of-13 from the field in the first win and was 4-4 at the free throw line. In fact, Smith was 16-of-25 in the two games for 64-percent shooting.

Against Chanler, support came from Reid (17 points), Morrissette (16), Hobbs (six), Dunnigan (six), and Durden (five). Dunnigan excelled on defense, but was 2-for-12 from the field.

Jada Ivy had 15 points for Chandler Park. Ivy had three 3-pointers for the Eagles, who trailed 41-17 at the half.

The action in Michigan saw two minor injuries for the Tigers as Durden (ankle) and Howard (knee) were banged up.

Back in the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division, the Tigers will travel to at Shaker Heights Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m.

The Tiger host North Canton Hoover (9-1) Jan. 9 and will return to the Classic in the Country in Berlin Jan. 20 and 21 against Cincinnati Princeton (8-2) and Reynoldsburg (8-1).

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

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