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Short-handed Tigers fall to Comets

By STEVE BATKO Correspondent Published: January 4, 2017 12:00 AM
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This winter, here may not be as many marquee events or out of state tournaments as the Twinsburg girls basketball program had a few years back during its state championship seasons.

Just don't make the mistake of thinking the Tigers don't play a strong schedule.

Twinsburg's last three foes either were undefeated or had only one loss on the season as the Tigers' non-league slate is just as strong as the Suburban League schedule.

In fact, Twinsburg has already faced four teams that reached the Division I Sweet 16 a year ago. That group included Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown Dec. 30, but results weren't available as of press time.

Hathaway Brown reached the Final Four in Division II while Gates Mills Gilmour, which recently beat Twinsburg by a point, was a Final Four entry in Division III last year.

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A 30-point explosion by non-league rival Solon washed away any hopes of a huge road win as the Tigers lost 67-45 Dec. 23. Solon (7-1) reached the Final Four last winter.

"Our league is really tough this year, but we also have a high quality non-league schedule, and Solon is very tough," said head coach Julie Solis.

Twinsburg (6-3) faced the Comets and 6-foot-3 post Valencia Myers without the luxury of veteran senior starter Jasmine Bishop (6-0), who was recently injured.

Myers was a member of the USA U16 National Team and is being recruited by Kentucky, Louisville and Ohio State, among other schools.

Limited in the first half with foul trouble, Myers was a focal point in the second half for Solon as she scored 11 points in the third quarter alone. She had 14 points and eight rebounds.

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"Guarding their posts without Jasmine [Bishop] was tough and it was difficult for our young kids to defend, but they really did a great job," said Solis. "We went in mentally to prepare to battle without Jasmine."

"In the first quarter, we played great defense and great team basketball, spreading Solon out," Solis added. "But then we made some turnovers, and struggled shooting in the paint and at the free throw line, which continues to be a problem we need to fix."

Veteran Solon wing Dee Bekelja was another big reason for the turnaround after Twinsburg soared to a 16-7 first quarter lead, forcing six turnovers with its pressure defense.

Bekelja exploded for a career high 28 points for Solon, which also got 15 from forward Alexis Stover.

"We just need to bounce back and get better," said Solis.

The Tigers were led by freshman wing Alana Ellis, who had eight points, including six at the free throw line.

Senior point guard Jailyn Reid, senior forward-guard Dasja Anderson, and junior post Brittany Jolly each had seven points while sophomore wing Nya Bussey had six.

Shaundrea Butler, a senior guard, added five points as did junior post Trinity Carthen. Sophomore guard Brianna Jones added two free throws.

Jolly and Carthen teamed up to replace Bishop, who dislocated her shoulder in a 46-42 non-league home win over Perrysburg Dec. 22.

A 12-4 edge in the third period and some fantastic defense led the Lady Tigers to the win over Perrysburg, which suffered its first loss of the year.

The Yellow Jackets (6-1) fought back to get within two points with 2:00 left, but Twinsburg held on.

Butler poured in 15 points in one of her best games of the winter while Anderson had 14.

Bishop scored eight points in the win, while Reid had five, Jolly had three, and Bussey added a free throw.

Ashlynn Brown led the Yellow Jackets as with 11 points.

Twinsburg, 5-0 in the Suburban League National Conference, resumes league play Jan. 4 at home against Nordonia at 7:30 p.m before visiting Cuyahoga Falls Jan. 7 at 2:30 p.m.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

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