STOW — Some basketball players might act coy about the importance of playing a rival. Stow point guard Lexi Petit is not one of them.
“We have been working for this since the last time we played,” Petit said.
“This” was another shot at Wadsworth, which handed Stow its lone loss in the Suburban League National Conference on Dec. 5.
The Bulldogs got their revenge Saturday with a 41-33 victory over the visiting Grizzlies to run their win streak to 14.
Unlike most games this season, Stow coach Bob Podges did not have the Bulldogs (18-2, 12-1) run their transition offense.
“It’s a lot of respect to Wadsworth,” Podges said. “They’re very good in the press. We knew it was going to be a game like this. The first time we played, we were very poor on defense and gave up 25 foul shots. Other than that, it was same type of game.”
Wadsworth coach Andrew Booth also played a slower tempo than usual, noting he respected Stow’s guards.
“There’s no secrets when we play Stow,” Booth said. “When you play Stow, the number of good looks you’re going to get offensively is at a premium. I thought we got some good looks, it was just one of those days where it didn’t go through the hoop.
“I thought with our game plan, the kids played very well. We just couldn’t get the shots to fall.”
Leading 8-6 after one quarter and with the Grizzlies (16-4, 12-1) clamping down on Stow forward Lizzy Stefanov, the Bulldogs got a boost from underclassmen in the second quarter. Freshman Kristen Chmielewski (eight points, five rebounds) and sophomore Bella Adams each had a pair of layups in the first half.
Just before halftime, a 3-pointer by Petit gave Stow a bit of breathing space and a 19-14 halftime lead.
“That 3-pointer before the half was big,” Booth said. “All 10 kids had to have their big-girl pants on today. It was intense, but clean.”
Chmielewski keyed a 7-1 Stow run to start the second half, but Wadsworth scored the last four points of the quarter to make it 26-19 after three.
After playing in foul trouble most of the game, Petit found her shot in the fourth quarter, nailing a 3-pointer to give Stow a 33-21 lead with five minutes to play. Petit was the lone player in double figures for either team, scoring 10 of her 13 points in the fourth quarter.
“Most of my fouls were when I was trying to get steals, which was dumb on my part,” Petit said. “I knew I just had to keep their guards in front of me. I was still getting back into it the first time we played. I should have given myself more time. Now I feel a lot better.”
Forward Kira Philpot added 12 rebounds for Stow, which didn't allow a 3-pointer until Taylor Leatherman (seven points) connected from beyond the arc with 3:30 left in the game. The Grizzlies then cut the lead to 37-31 with 1:16 left on a 3-pointer by Kylee Batey (seven points), but got no closer and were forced to foul.
Although Stow didn’t have its best free-throw shooting effort, going 11-of-17 from the line, Petit and guard Emily Andrassy hit enough down the stretch to ice the game.