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Corri Vermilya uses advice from her sister, not her mom, as Loudonville wins regional semifinal

The senior had 26 points, 12 rebounds, seven steals and three blocked shots to help the Redbirds to the victory

MASSILLON, Ohio - Teenagers rarely listen to their parents. That even applies if said teenager is a finalist for the Ohio Ms. Basketball award.

At halftime of Loudonville's 46-40 win over Danbury in the OHSAA Division IV regional semifinal on Thursday night at Perry High School, Cathy Vermilya said her kid needed to hit more shots. 

That kid, Corri Vermilya, had already scored 16 of her team's 26 points.

She understood what her mother meant, however, as the offense went cold down the stretch in the second quarter.

"Offensively, we didn't execute as much as we wanted to," Corri Vermilya said. "In the first half, it was loud and we couldn't hear a lot so we needed to do better."

But instead of making shots in the second half like her mom suggested, Vermilya came out and assisted on the first two baskets of the third quarter - one to Alesha Felix and the other to Sophia Spangler. 

Then the 5-foot-9 Ashland University recruit did just about everything over the final 16 minutes, including grabbing four of her seven steals and blocking three shots. 

"Corri does so many things to fill up the stat sheet, it's incredible," Loudonville head coach Tyler Bates said. "Tonight it was the blocked shots. We really challenged her and the other girls to help defend the rim because they did have some some size. I felt like even though we were a little undersized, we battled down there and Corri was certainly a big part of that."

While her mother had wanted her to make more shots in the second half, it was the conversations Corri had all week with her older sister Grace that resonated with her on Thursday night. Grace was a senior in 2021 when Corri was a freshman and the Redbirds lost in the regional semifinals that season.

"(Grace has) been saying to us the past few days you want to do the little things because you'll regret it if you don't get that steal, pass the ball in the open, sprint as hard as you can back in transition," Corri Vermilya said. "She said millions of times to me over the past few days you want to do the little things right and that's what's gonna win you the game. So I think that paid off."

Loudonville's Corri Vermilya laughs during warmups prior to a game against Ellet on February 7, 2023.

Loudonville's Corri Vermilya laughs during warmups prior to a game against Ellet on February 7, 2023.

Don't get it wrong - Vermilya still scored in the second half with 10 of her game-high 26 points, including all six points for Loudonville in the fourth quarter. And none of her points might have been bigger than when Danbury had cut the lead to five late in the fourth.

"When she was jogging down the court, I was like go get us one," Bates said.

And that's exactly what the senior did, as she got the ball from Spangler and started at the left wing. She weaved her way through all five Lakers defenders on her way to the basket, where she put it up and off glass with her left hand, the ball falling through the hoop as the whistle blew with a foul. She then stepped to the free throw line and made the foul shot to give Loudonville a 43-35 lead with 1:19 left.

"I went in and I saw a defender in my way but I think I was just really bullheaded and wanted to take it to the rim and I was really happy I got an and-1," Vermilya said. "That's like one of my favorite things, I love when I get and-1s. I love when other people get and-1s, it literally gets me so hyped up. It was awesome. And it was a good way to kind of close out the game."

Vermilya finished the game by hitting three of her four free throw attempts down the stretch as Loudonville clinched the win and a date with New Middletown Springfield on Saturday in the regional final at 7:00 pm for a spot  in the state semifinals.

The defense was key for Loudonville, allowing just nine points in each of the final two quarters which allowed the Redbirds to as large as an 11-point lead in the third quarter.

"I think our defense really won it for us in the second half," Vermilya said. "So I laugh that my mom says hit more shots, but I think it was definitely our defense that did it."

When told of her mom saying she needed to hit more shots in the second half and then asked if she listens to her mom more times than not, Vermilya was smart enough not to answer.

"I'm not gonna answer that myself personally, I think you should go ask her," Vermilya said with a loud laugh.

-- Ryan Isley | | @sbliveoh