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Slumping defense disastrous for Falcons

February 16, 2012
By Nik Zirounis , Town Crier correspondent

The roller coaster ride that is the Fitch girls basketball season continued its wacky ways last week.

After four consecutive wins to regain momentum midway through this season, the Lady Falcons have dropped four games in a row. The tailspin started with a disappointing 56-45 Red Tier loss to Canfield in front of a large audience on Fitch's annual "Think Pink" night for cancer awareness two weeks ago. A week later the Lady Falcons fell under .500 in the league after falling to first-place Howland, 54-38. On Feb. 11, the Falcons flew out of conference, but came away empty again this time against West Branch, 64-31. The fourth loss in a row came this past Monday at Cardinal Mooney 58-43, which put the Lady Falcons just one game above break even for the year.

One reason why Fitch's girls have hit this sorry slide has been some sloppy and subpar defense. Opponents have averaged 60 points per game over the last quartet of contests placing Fitch's fleeting offense behind the eight ball. Three Mooney players eclipsed double-digits in scoring on Monday night to help turn back the Falcons. Megan Sefcik was the only Fitch lady above ten points with 17. Anissa Hill had nine points while Cassie Custer scored eight.

Article Photos

Fitch’s Brianna Edwards uses her body to box out a Howland defender.

Visiting West Branch spoiled Senior Night in Austintown last weekend with its lopsided victory. The Falcons, who have been slow starters in many of their games this year, set a new low watermark for futility against the Lady Warriors. West Branch shutout the home girls in the first period 10-0 and although Fitch was able to take the second period 12-11 it still trailed by nine points at halftime. A 43-19 second half by the Warriors was too much for the Falcons to handle. Once again just one Falcon topped double-figures with Hill scoring 14. Sefcik scored eight points and Sarah Melfi made six points.

Nobody really expected the upstart Falcons to foil the unbeaten season Howland is enjoying in the Red Tier this year, but they could have made a little more of a contest of it. Just like in Saturday's setback to West Branch, Fitch was outdone by a poor first period. Howland's Erika Nites made sure it would not be Fitch's night by scoring nine of her game-high 21 points in the opening round as the Lady Tigers roared out to a 16-2 lead. Hey, at least the Falcons scored in the first quarter this time. It didn't get any better for Fitch the rest of the way as the seemingly unbeatable Tigers imposed their will on the outnumbered Falcons. Hill had 17 points and Sefcik scored 13 in a losing effort.

The most depressing thing now is that the Falcons only have one regular season game remaining to right the ship before the Division I tournament. That game is this week at Beaver Local. A win by the Falcons will allow them to finish their first Red Tier trip at 5-5.

The Division I big dance will be on Feb. 25 when the Falcons play the winner of Walsh Jesuit and Aurora in Akron.



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