NORTON: Green’s youthful girls basketball team had to grow up in a hurry Friday afternoon.
Kenmore’s do-everything star Porshae Hearn was taking it to them, leading her team to a 16-point lead in the first half.
But the Bulldogs refused to panic and turned the tables in a big way for a season-opening 63-57 victory in the inaugural Turkey Tip-Off at Norton High School.
Green will face host Norton, a 65-40 winner over Barberton, today in the 7 p.m. championship game.
Hearn, a 5-foot-8 senior, scored 34 points, including five 3-pointers, and refused to let her team die as she scored 13 in the fourth quarter. But the Cardinals’ lack of experience betrayed them, particularly in the third quarter when they committed 13 turnovers and were outscored 22-7.
“I think my younger girls got a little frustrated and they’re just too in a hurry,” Kenmore coach Yontami Jones said.
That fast pace worked in Kenmore’s favor in the first half. Green had nine turnovers in the first quarter with half-court pressure. That allowed Kenmore to take a 21-12 lead. The Cardinals built the margin to 29-13 midway through the second quarter before their aggressiveness resulted in foul trouble.
“We kind of knew that,” Green senior guard Erika Rector said. “Coach [Tracy Miller] prepared us for that.
“We knew they were going to come out going after it, but we knew that most of our points were going to come in the second half. So no one really panicked and we started coming back and they started getting in foul trouble, which helped a lot.”
Two Kenmore players would eventually foul out and two more had four fouls.
Kenmore led 33-19 when Hearn picked up her third personal and went to the bench 2:07 before the half. The Bulldogs went on an 8-0 run and cut the deficit to six points at halftime.
“After we settled down a little bit, starting in the second quarter I thought we played Green basketball,” Miller said. “Quick, up-tempo, took care of the ball a little more. Missed a lot of free throws, first and second half, and that’ll come back to bite you.”
Indeed, the Bulldogs were just 6-of-18 from the foul line in the first half, 16-of-35 for the game.
Rector was the exception, making 7-of-9 from the line. She also provided leadership for a team with seven sophomores and two freshmen.
Sophomore Julie Guyton led Green with 24 points and Rector added 13.
Sophomore Casey McCormick contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds for Kenmore.
Green scored nine of the first 11 in the third quarter to take its first lead, 36-35, on Rector’s 3-point play.
After a Hearn layup, the Bulldogs took the lead for good on another 3-point play by senior Lexi Teodosio with 5:08 left.
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