By STEVE GOLDMAN
For the Star Beacon
ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP —
Dave McCoy has the Edgewood girls headed in the right direction.
You can tell by watching them play. Another indicator is the fact that they got into the win column in their second try this season. It happened on Saturday night when they beat visiting Conneaut, 48-37.
That puts the 1-1 Warriors 10 games ahead of last year’s pace, as it took them 12 contests to emerge victorious then. But it’s likely that if last year is in their minds at all, it’s been reverted to the back.
Edgewood’s effort was far from perfect, but a number of good things surfaced. Early, there was the shooting of Gia Saturday. With a pair of 3-pointers and two foul shots, she scored the game’s initial eight points and canned another trey for a 13-4 advantage. She went on to add a triple in the fourth quarter for a total of 14 points.
“Gia was just on fire; she got us started,” McCoy said. “The last game, I think she got two shots. One of the things we talked about was that we needed to get her more involved in the offense.”
There was guard Carrie Pascarella, who assisted on Saturday’s early field goals and finished with six dishes, which was two more than Saturday. And sophomore forward Taylor Diemer, who finished with a game-high 16 points after not scoring in the first period. She added seven rebounds, tying for the team high with Courtney Humphrey (5 thefts).
But as is always the case in a team sport, the victory goes to — well, the team. Still, there were bumps in the road, especially in the second quarter, in which the Spartans (1-2) bounced back from the rough start. Down 17-8 at the end of the first quarter, they ran off nine straight points to tie, and turned it into a 15-3 run, taking a 23-20 edge with 3:07 left before halftime.
“We have some ability,” Conneaut coach Tony Pasanen said. “So we’re going to be inconsistent; we’re going to show flashes, like there for that one stretch of the first half. If they can just maintain that...”
The Spartans didn’t, however. Edgewood ran off the final nine points of the half and stretched the skein to 11 for a 31-23 lead. Then in the third frame, the Warriors clamped down on defense, giving up just three points on one-of-12 shooting as the lead reached as high as 37-25. From there, they pushed the margin as high as 15 at 46-31 and 48-33.
“We did a great job (defensively) overall,” McCoy said. “We put some different defensive wrinkles in and whatnot.
“Like I told the girls, it was a game of runs. ”We got up big and they got a run and they went up a little bit on us. We kept our composure. We did some things at halftime.”
Pasanen acknowledged his team’s offensive struggles, which saw it shoot just 13-of-58 (22.4 percent) from the floor, and 10-of-25 at the foul line. He related that many of the misses came on easy shots.
“I’m not angry with them, because they’re giving us all the effort they can,” he said. “We’re beating ourselves at this point with poor decision-making. And that’s a product of inexperience. Where veteran players are a little bit more patient working for shots, we’re just rushing everything right now, whether it’s passing, dribbling, shooting.”
Edgewood converted 40 percent of its shots (18-of-45) from the floor, although it also struggled from the line, at seven-of-19. Both sides had problems with turnovers, with the Warriors committing one more (28-27).
“I told the girls toward the end of the game is that we need to learn how to play with the lead,” McCoy said. “We’re probably still taking too many shots we shouldn’t have taken. But that’s easily correctable.”
Keegan McTrusty had four steals for Edgewood. Angie Zappitelli pulled down 11 boards for Conneaut. Lexi Zappitelli (8 caroms) was its leading scorer with 10 points, and teammate Brooke Bennett had four thefts.
“I can’t fault (my team’s) effort,” Pasanen said. “That’s actually what I love about this group of girls. I just feel bad for them because I know they’re trying.
“The best thing they can do right now is just slow down. And I think time — experience. As the season goes on, that’s what we expect — to be getting better and better.”
Goldman is a freelance writer from South Euclid.