A huge second half outburst gave the Fitch girls basketball team the lift it needed in its 57-38 win at home over Poland on Dec. 18.
The Lady Falcons held a 23-18 advantage at halftime, but the flow of the game seemed to favor the visitors from Poland a little more than it did the home team. Sparked by Anissa Hill and Megan Sefcik, the Falcons were able to go on a 34-20 second half run to pull away and keep their early season momentum rolling. Both girls scored 17 points to help put Poland out to pasture.
Fitch head coach Stacie Cepin noted that an alteration in schemes on the defensive side of the floor aided the effort as well.
“We had a change in our defense,” said the coach. “Erica Braxton was in foul trouble and Brenda Thompson was out with a concussion so we had to cut back on our trapping.”
Coach Cepin then gave a nod to her team for adjusting their play on the offensive end after halftime.
“We missed a lot of layups early,” Cepin said. “We executed better in the second half on offense. We made better decisions and finished plays."
Both Sefcik and Hill scored the majority of their points in quarters three and four and Fitch also received 11 points from Erica Braxton and eight points from Marissa Mattozzi. Sefcik had been averaging over 20 points per game before last Saturday, but being held under that 20-point plateau for the first time this year was not necessarily a bad thing for the Falcons.
“Teams are starting to play a box in one defense on (Sefcik) and that is leaving other girls open,” explained Cepin. “We took advantage of that (against Poland). Anissa hit a couple of big shots. Mattozzi hit a couple of big shots. It’s fine with us if teams only try to focus on Megan.”
Things weren’t fine for the Falcons a week earlier when they fell at home to Canton McKinley, 86-43. That bad game against very good McKinley had been the only blemish on Fitch’s near perfect slate through five games. The demons that haunted the Falcons early in their game against Poland were the same ones that spooked them in the McKinley match. The only difference was that correcting those problems against a state title contender like the Lady Pups was not as easy as doing it against the Lady Bulldogs.
“(McKinley) is a phenomenal team,” said Cepin. “We got into foul trouble early. We didn’t execute on offense and missed layups.”
Despite the gloomy game on the even gloomier mid December afternoon, Cepin thought there were enough positive events to warrant a rematch with mighty McKinley.
“We did some good things,” Cepin announced. “We did a good job with turnovers. We have a chance to see them again in the Federal League tournament and the state tournament. We would like that chance.”
Cepin’s team had another chance to play well against a Federal League contender on Dec. 20 at North Canton Hoover. That game was rescheduled from Dec. 14 due to bad weather. The Falcons probably wish it wasn’t. Four Hoover girls scored in double-digits as the Lady Vikings stayed unbeaten in the Federal League with a 70-38 win. Fitch’s loss was its second in the Federal this year.
The contest with the Lady Vikings put a cap to the pre-Christmas portion of Fitch’s schedule. The Lady Falcons do not hit the hardwood again until Dec. 30 when they travel to Canfield. That battle will mark the last game of 2010 because Fitch will then be idle until Jan. 5 when it plays Cardinal Mooney. Some coaches may see that off time as a burden, but, like the song says, Cepin thinks it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
“I love this time of the season,” Cepin said without singing. “You get time to spend with your family. You can slow down and spend time working on fundamentals and fix the problems you have. There are tons of games in January to play so this break is needed.”