Fitch girls basketball head coach Stacie Cepin is expecting a lot from her team this winter.
Despite being young and mostly inexperienced, Cepin still thinks her girls have enough talent to make a run in the state tournament in March. After what happened on opening night in Austintown on Dec. 1, perhaps Cepin’s optimism is warranted. Fitch got top games from two of its top players en route to a satisfying 49-39 come-from-behind victory over a good Jefferson area ballclub.
The Lady Falcons actually started the game slower than coach Cepin would have liked falling behind the visitors, 8-2. That deficit was quickly erased as a long three-point shot by sharpshooter Megan Sefcik capped a 9-2 run that put Fitch ahead for the first time this season, 11-10. That initial run was important in Cepin’s eyes.
“We got down early,” said the coach, “but got the lead and maintained that lead. I am proud of how our kids battled back.”
Cepin’s kids would extend that lead to 17-10 after one period then storm even further ahead in the second to take a commanding 28-16 lead into the locker room at halftime. Anissa Hill joined Sefcik as the major contributors to the Fitch offensive assault as each wound up scoring 16 points on the night. Sefcik was the star in the first half with 11 points over that 16-minute span then Hill helped jolt Jefferson after intermission with 10 points. Maura Bianco scored six points off of Fitch’s bench to aid in the total team effort. Having young up-and-coming stars like Sefcik, Bianco, Cassie Custer, and Sarah Melfe meshing with upperclassmen like Hill, Brenda Thompson and Briana Edwards gives Cepin a diverse mix of talent to rotate on the floor.
“A lot of kids chipped in and we need that,” Cepin explained. “Our kids are learning how to win each night.”
The one problem with a group that is still in that learning phase is that rookie mistakes occur more often than a coach can tolerate. Although the Lady Falcons shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and had 38 rebounds to easily outnumber their opponent, the game still hung in the balance late in the fourth quarter because of some untimely Fitch turnovers.
“We had lots of silly turnovers,” Cepin said unamused. “Little things like traveling and double dribbles are things you can’t have against good teams. We need to do a lot of drills in practice to limit those turnovers and make the girls learn to take pride in every possession.”
Cepin certainly took pride in one thing last Monday and that was how her team did in the rebounding department.
“Our rebounding was a good thing,” said the coach. “We did a nice job keeping them off the boards.”
The good things continued on Dec. 5 when Fitch traveled to Girard for its first road test of the season. Although that game went back and forth for a good portion of the first half, the Falcons finally flew past the Lady Indians 52-38 to up its record to 2-0. Sefcik was game high leading scorer with 21 points. Hill helped out with 11 points.
Fitch will put its early unbeaten string on the line on Dec. 8 at Newton Falls and then will take the weekend off before suiting up again next week.