MEDINA: Wadsworth’s girls basketball team turned the Medina Division I district into its own personal playground.
Its four opponents didn’t have much fun, though. The Grizzlies completed a resounding sweep with a 91-47 victory over Highland in the championship game Saturday at Medina High School.
Wadsworth (24-2) posted its highest point total of the season. The top-seeded Grizzlies marched through four tournament games by margins of 49, 72, 69 and 44 points.
They also beat Highland (17-9) for the third time, as they did to Cloverleaf in the semifinal. All three schools are members of the Suburban League.
“Probably the thing I’m most proud of the kids is, they didn’t look at the opponent,” Wadsworth coach Andrew Booth said. “The last two we obviously played twice before, and sometimes it’s easy to lose focus when you’ve already beaten somebody twice in the regular season.
“So I’m really proud of our seniors, and proud of our leaders on the team, who I think did a great job of making sure we were focused, especially in the first half.”
Wadsworth, with its third consecutive district title, advances to a regional semifinal rematch against Rocky River Magnificat at 7 p.m. Tuesday at North Royalton High School.
Magnificat defeated Elyria 51-39 in its district final Saturday. Wadsworth beat Magnificat 54-42 in last year’s regional semifinal.
Despite losing twice to Wadsworth by 30 or more points, Highland was still riding the high of a dramatic 43-42 victory over No. 2 seed Brunswick on Thursday. It was one of the Hornets’ biggest victories ever, and propelled them to their first district final in 20 years.
Midway through the first quarter, the score was 11-11, but the Hornets did not score again until the second quarter. The Grizzlies turned up the full-court defensive pressure and scored 14 unanswered points for a 25-11 lead.
“We knew they were going to come out and play as hard as they could,” Wadsworth’s Taylore Robinson said. “We knew we had to stay hungry and get on the boards and get up and press them in order to get things going our way.”
Robinson, a 5-foot-11 senior post player, led a balanced attack with 18 points, six rebounds and four steals. Senior McKenzie O’Brien scored 17 points, and senior point guard Rachel Goddard had 16 points and four steals.
“I think at the beginning, the atmosphere had everybody really hyped up,” Goddard said. “And then, once we settled in a little bit, then we could get going.”
Wadsworth forced nine Highland turnovers in the first quarter, then 11 more in the second. Twelve points in a row put the Grizzlies ahead 41-15, and they led 50-19 at the half.
They ended the third quarter on a 10-point run, increasing the lead to 73-29. Both teams’ reserves got plenty of playing time in the fourth quarter. Twelve Grizzlies got into the scoring column.
Junior Anna Rose Wiencek led Highland with 12 points.
“We came out in the first quarter and played really well,” Highland coach Bernard Bolha said. “Second quarter, we kind of got away from the game plan. Overall, we felt a little bit of their press. We turned the ball over and we just couldn’t get back into it.
“The kids played hard, all the way through. I’m proud of them, all the way to the end.”