CUYAHOGA FALLS — Communication, tough defense and just enough offense propelled Archbishop Hoban past Walsh Jesuit in a girls basketball game Saturday night.
Hoban entered “The Dome” undefeated, and after a hotly contested 32 minutes, the Knights walked outside into the snow with a 36-35 victory after Walsh missed an off-balance layup attempt as time expired in a North Coast League Blue Division game.
Senior Lonasia Brewer, a 5-foot-11 University of Akron recruit, led Hoban (13-0, 6-0) with 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Senior Alaina Alessio had 11 points, four rebounds and two steals for Walsh (6-7, 4-3).
“It is such an honor to be a part of this game,” Hoban coach Scott Callaghan said. “I think we bring out the best in Walsh. They are so well coached and their kids play so incredibly hard. I am just very happy for our kids that we found a way to win. We did not play well, but I am going to give Walsh the credit for that and we have got to grow from this game.”
Senior Megan Hutson made a layup and free throw to give Hoban a 36-33 lead with 1:19 remaining in the fourth quarter. Walsh countered with two free throws by senior Sloane Sapp with 1:02 left to conclude the scoring.
“We had really good communication in our huddle,” Callaghan said. “Our kids took a lot of ownership, especially defensively. … From a game-plan standpoint, I thought their defensive game-plan was better than our offensive game-plan.”
Hoban senior Taylor Flannery had eight points and three assists, and Hutson contributed five points and six rebounds. Junior TaNayja Gooden-Wesley, senior Abby Griffith, senior Alana Christian and junior Jackie Roberts combined to account for 11 points.
“This is our second most challenging game this year [behind only Willoughby Cornerstone Christian Academy],” Hutson said. “This rivalry game always changes the atmosphere, and it always makes us and Walsh play differently.”
Said Flannery: “Walsh is one of our rivals, so this was a big game. I think we just needed to stay locked in throughout the game, even though we were losing at certain points. We moved the ball well on offense and got it into the post for easy layups, and on defense they got some shots wide open, but we didn’t let them score many layups.”
Walsh also received solid efforts from junior Katie Clark (six points and five rebounds); junior Angela Vitantonio (six points, seven rebounds) and Sapp (five points).
“They always play their toughest game against us,” Brewer said.
Saturday’s loss was Walsh’s fourth by three points or less this season.
“We have been close and all you can ask is that the girls give it their all and they do,” Walsh coach Pete Zaccari said. “You saw out there today that the ball sometimes just doesn’t bounce your way. We had a lot of shots go in and out.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org.