By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
Playing good defense will only get a basketball team so far. That team still has to score points in order to win.
The Edgewood girls found that out the hard way Thursday night in a 42-37 loss to Ledgemont in the Conneaut Holiday Tournament at Garcia Gymnasium.
The Redskins will play Grand Valley, a 54-57 winner over Conneaut in the second game, in the championship Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Warriors will play the Spartans in the consolation game at 6 p.m. that day.
The Warriors (3-6) fell behind, 17-7, through the first eight minutes. They attempted just nine shots, were outrebounded by five and committed eight turnovers. Edgewood also committed eight fouls to the Redskins’ one in the period.
“We came out flat, I thought,” McCoy said. “It was a pretty physical game. Early in the game we already had a lot of girls in foul trouble. That changed my way of thinking.
“And with (starter) Taylor Diemer not here because she’s really sick, we were even more short-handed. Another body out there would’ve helped. All of the bench players played well.”
On the flip side, the Warriors gave Ledgemont a rough way to go at the other end. They just didn’t get anything to show for it.
“That’s been the key for us,” McCoy said. “I told the girls we do a nice job defensively. We create a lot of turnovers. On the other hand, we shoot ourselves in the foot on offense. We don’t reward ourselves for all the defensive work we do by scoring.”
Edgewood finally got its offense going, but trailed by 12, 27-15, at the break.
“All game, we played really good defense,” Ledgemont coach Janet Nikses said. “We used our half-court press and got some good looks. When you score easy baskets, playing defense becomes a little easier.”
The Warriors closed that gap a bit with a stellar defensive third period. The allowed just four points and did not give up a single field goal in doing so.
“We had 11 possessions with no baskets,” Nikses said. “In the third quarter we only made free throws. We didn’t make a bucket. We came out and did what I didn’t want us to do.”
Back-to-back buckets from Keegan McTrusty and another by Cortney Humphrey had the Warriors within seven, 28-21, with 2:18 to play in the quarter. The period closed with the same deficit (31-24) when Gia Saturday banked home a 3-pointer at the buzzer to follow three Redskin free throws.
Alivia Sidley’s trey and a putback from Brie Carr had the Redskins (6-3) back up 12 to open the final eight minutes. Saturday, however, cut that deficit back to six, 36-30, with a conventional three-point play and 3-pointer in a 15-second span just more than midway through the quarter.
The Redskins were 20-41 from the free-throw line in the contest as opposed the Warriors being just 5 of 9.
“It is what it is,” McCoy said. “I won’t say any more than that.”
Sidley paced the Redskins with 13 points and Carr added 11 with 10 rebounds. Jessica Fontana had 13 boards with two points.
Saturday led the Warriors with 15 points and McTrusty had six.
“Give Ledgemont credit,” McCoy said. “Gia’s our only legitimate 3-point threat and they played a box-and-one on her. We need all the girls to score. We can’t rely on one person. Everybody has to take part and we weren’t doing that.”
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.