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Margaretta stops Western in district rematch

By JOSH MORGRET • Updated Feb 28, 2019 at 10:36 PM

SHELBY — Western Reserve got the start it wanted.

The Roughriders scored the first four points of the game and forced Margaretta into nine missed straight shots.

But once the Polar Bears' defense kicked it into high gear, Western Reserve found itself committing numerous turnovers.

The 'Riders finished with 33 turnovers and fell, 65-36 to Margaretta in a Division III district semifinal at Shelby High School on Thursday.

Western Reserve finishes its season at 19-5.

"When you do not have your starting lineup in due to foul trouble — and Margaretta upped their pressure," Western Reserve coach Brenda Friend said. "We just did not handle that at all tonight. We have not had trouble with that. I think we just panicked."

Cora Wyers and Jenna Skrada scored to open the game for the 'Riders before Margaretta settled in and took over. The Polar Bears (22-2) responded with the next six points and led, 8-7, after one quarter.

After two early fouls on Wyers, the senior came back into the game with the 'Riders trailing, 16-13, with 4:03 left in the second quarter. Despite her presence back on the floor, Margaretta continued to pressure Western Reserve.

The Polar Bears forced the 'Riders into nine more turnovers in the second quarter — giving Western Reserve 19 for the first half. Meanwhile, Margaretta used a 11-4 run over the last 4:28 of the half to build a 27-18 lead at halftime.

"I thought we came out good," Friend said. "I thought we played well in the first quarter. If I had to do it over, maybe I don't sit Cora that long."

The Polar Bears did not stop in the third quarter. Western Reserve committed 10 more turnovers. Margaretta scored nine straight points to open a 38-20 lead. Rockell Kuns hit three 3s in a row for the Polar Bears to boost the lead to 47-23.

"Margaretta attacks anyhow," Friend said. "They are like a shark. When they smell blood, they are going for the kill. They did not let up. They were relentless with their pressure. Give them credit, they have a really nice team."

The Roughriders maintained a 41-29 rebounding edge and Margaretta hit just 22 of 63 shots. But, the turnovers will haunt Western Reserve for a long time.

"We could not finish," Friend said. "We missed a ton of layups and a ton of shots. That would have kept us in the game. We could have weathered that early storm."

Isabella Zvara paced the 'Riders with nine points while Skrada scored eight points. Emma Blankenship hauled in 11 rebounds.

MARGARETTA (22-2)

Kennedi Hilton 2-0—5, Taylor Malson 1-0—2, Faythe Smetzer 2-0—4, Elliana Schaefer 5-6—16, Jayden Moore 1-4—7, Tori Miller 2-0—4, Rockell Kuns 4-0—12, Jennah Yost 1-1—3, Devyne Eisenhauer 4-2—10, Grace Bias 0-2—2. TOTALS 22-15—65.

WESTERN RESERVE (19-5)

Jenna Skrada 3 2—8, McKenna Woodruff 1-2—4, Emma Blankenship 1-1—3, Cora Wyers 1-0—2, Avery Tubbs 0-1—1, Emma Weber 2-0—4, Isabella Zvara 3-3—9, Ellie Blankenship 0-1—1, Isabella Duchette 1-0—2, Gabrielle Duchette 1-0—2, Ashlyn Barnhart 1-0—2. TOTALS 14-10—38.

Margaretta 8 19 22 16 — 65

W. Reserve 7 11 7 13 — 38

3-point FGs: (M) Kuns 4, Hilton, Moore

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