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Ohio girls high school basketball: Aurora, West Geauga, Canton McKinley, Archbishop Hoban winners at inaugural B. Scott Academy Ohio Tip-Off Classic

Aurora, West Geauga, Canton McKinley and Archbishop Hoban all picked up wins in Ohio girls basketball on Sunday

HIRAM, Ohio - The girls high school basketball season kicked off this past Wednesday in Ohio and Sunday saw the inaugural Coach B. Scott Academy Ohio Tip-Off Classic at the Price Gymnasium, with eight teams from around Ohio participating. 

Here are recaps from the four games:

Aurora 54, Twinsburg 52

Despite the close score, the Greenmen never trailed in opening their 2023-24 campaign with a win.

Aurora jumped out to a 16-7 lead after the first quarter in part thanks to eight first quarter points from senior guard Sam Stask and maintained that lead throughout until Twinsburg made a run late in the fourth quarter. 

After putting on a a show at the Pink Power Preview last Sunday, Stask was at it again this week, as she led Aurora with 17 points, including three 3-pointers, all of which were from behind the college 3-point line. She also faked a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter and was able to go around the defender for a pull-up jumper from 15 feet. 

"Since everybody focuses on my shot, I have to be able to create a move to get to the rim at the same time," Stask said. "So being able to fake and get a pull-up is perfect. I'm not as tall, so I can't just go dive in there, but like a pull-up is great.

Jenna Zeulich had 10 for the Greenmen and Kailey Feckner had eight.

Even in a win, Aurora head coach Erika Greenberg knows her team has to shake off some of what plagued them in the fourth quarter, when the Greenmen struggled at times to hold on to the ball, leading to turnovers and allowing Twinsburg to make its run. She believes the process was correct, however.

"We did a good job spacing and keeping away but then we make dumb passes and just chucking it over our head," Greenberg said. "We're we were getting the right spots. We just didn't make the right passes that time. So we have to do better with that."

Taylor Dye of Twinsburg hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to provide the final margin. She led all scorers in the game with 21 and Kayla Cellura had 12 for Twinsburg despite missing the last part of the game after suffering an injury.

"They always are improving," Twinsburg head coach Ryan Looman said of his guards. "Taylor, Mackenzie (Sweeney) and Kayla are all hard workers, they are our three captains and they make our make our team go."

West Geauga 44, Berkshire 43

Maggie Furst had 20 points for West Geauga, but none bigger than the final two, as she banked in a layup with just over 10 seconds left to give the Wolverines their first lead since 6-4.

"She's a force inside and she has been for us for four years," West Geauga head coach Brandon Stewart said. "Her leadership came through tonight. There was no question who we were going to on the last play. And she did a great job of finishing."

The basket held up as the game-winner when West Geauga got a steal on the ensuing possession to seal the win and take the Wolverines to 1-1 on the season.

After trailing 28-16 at the half, West Geauga outscored Berkshire 17-6 in the third quarter to cut the deficit to just one after 24 minutes of play.

"We just told him that it was going to be our defense," Stewart said. "We've been saying all along, our defense is going to lead to our offense. And they showed it in that third quarter and then they just never let up. 

Berkshire scored nine of the first 12 points in the fourth quarter to take a 43-36 lead with less than three minutes left. But West Geauga bucked down defensively and then on offense, just fed the ball to Furst, who scored eight of her points in the fourth quarter.

The Badgers took advantage of 29 West Geauga turnovers in the first half in building a 28-16 halftime advantage but the Wolverines took better care of the ball in the second half and let their defense lead to offense.

"I think we just valued the ball more and we valued the possessions more (in the second half)," Stewart said. "We started to not made the longer passes and we started make shorter passes."

Freshman Faelynn Beckrest had 12 points for West Geauga.

Berkshire (0-1) was led by Hayley Stoddared with 13 points and Jenna Harnak with 12.

Canton McKinley 51, Warren JFK 37

After a slow start, the Bulldogs turned it on and pulled away from the Eagles to pick up their first win of the season.

McKinley trailed 11-2 in the first quarter and then went on an 11-0 run to take its first lead of the game and finished the first half on a 19-9 run to take a 21-20 advantage into the half. McKinley took a timeout early in the first quarter to stop the JFK momentum.

"We needed to get a timeout just to settle down and relax some of our nerves and it worked early," McKinley head coach Bryant Bowden said.  "And then our girls finally just start to chip away at it a little bit."

The Bulldogs scored the first 13 points of the third quarter, including nine by sophomore Mya Taylor. They turned up the defense and shut out JFK until a 3-pointer by Marina Sanders went in at the buzzer.

"The program I inherited, the program I run is defense first," Bowden said. "That's how we build everything. We talked to halftime about way to fight back, but can we please get back to what we do. What we do is we pressure, we work, we rotate."

McKinley was led by Taylor with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Kylonee Foster also had 16 points and freshman Ka'Myah Gisentaner had 10. 

Mya and Kylonee are going to have to be our horses this year," Bowden said. "Last year I had five girls who could score in double figures (consistently). This year, I have two. And Ka'Myah can do it when she gets that confidence." 

For JFK, Ava Darney scored the first six points of the game and led the Eagles with 12 points, while Sanders had 11. 

 Archbishop Hoban 55, Ursuline 26

Hoban started its season with a win by playing suffocating defense and getting a balanced attack on offense.

The Hoban defense started each half strong, forcing a pair of 10-second violations in the first six minutes of the first quarter and then blocking three shots in the opening 90 seconds of the third quarter.

"Regardless of who you play, or where you play, if you don't pack your defense, you're never in a ballgame," Hoban head coach Pamela Davis said. "If you have defense, then you're at least in it at some point in time."

Hoban scored 15 of the first 17 points of the game and the led by 18 early in the third quarter.

Ursuline actually outscored Hoban 16-11 in the third quarter and finished the quarter on a 16-7 run.

But Hoban answered in the fourth quarter, forcing nine turnovers, blocking two shots and holding Ursuline scoreless in a 20-0 run quarter.

"I called two timeouts and basically ripped them that we weren't playing our type of pressure defense," Davis said. "We were gambling, allowing them to have great penetrating lanes where either they got fouled or they were able to dump it off, and then we shut those down. But I think our attrition over four quarters kind of wore them down a little bit." 

Hoban had nine players score and were led by sophomore Niera Stevens with 12 points, senior Devin Harris with 11, senior Mackenzie Edinburgh with seven and sophomore MaKenzie Grant and junior Finley Kennedy with six each.

Senior guard Lily Scott led Ursuline with 11 points before missing the final 6:09 after falling hard on her back.

"Her senior veteran leadership where she understands the game and has a lot of games under her belt kind of hurt us a little bit," Davis said.

(Feature image: Aurora's Sam Stask takes a shot at John Carroll University during the 2022 Pink Power Preview. Photo credit: Mike Cook, SBLive Sports)

-- Ryan Isley | | @sbliveoh