The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 12, 2014

Bland, Gabriel shine brightest

Staff Writer

JEFFERSON — Throughout Taylor Bland’s career at Madison, her and the Geneva Eagles were rivals, battling it out at the top of the Premier Athletic Conference.

Tuesday night at Falcon Gymnasium, Bland got to join forces with some of her former “enemies” — her words — for the Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic and the results were impressive.

Bland scored 13 points to lead all scorers as her team cruised to a 61-25 victory and she earned  PlayAll Awards and Engraving player of the game honors for the victorious Comets.

“It felt really great,” she said. “I was glad I got to play with some of my ‘enemies’ during the season and it felt nice to come together and be able to play just for fun.”

Bland also got to play with her Blue Streak teammate Julie Gavorski for a final time and the duo joined Geneva’s Emily Ball, Alyssa Scott and Annaliesa Fistek.

“Julie’s my best friend, so I love it and I love playing with Geneva cuz they’re just a fun group of girls,” she said. “They are our rivals, but I love them too and loved playing them this season.”

Bland said the team kept things pretty light in the win.

“We kind of just made some stuff up,” Bland, who is headed to Cleveland State to major in nursing, said. “We went with the flow, we were all sucking air.”

Pymatuning Valley 1,000-point scorer Geena Gabriel earned Player of the Game honors in defeat for the Stars.

Gabriel scored 8 points to go with 3 rebounds.

“It feels good to play for the last time,” she said. “I still plan to play in college but it was great to play one more time at the high school level.”

Like Bland, Gabriel was glad she got another shot to play with her Laker teammate, Taylor Lipinsky.

“I played with her since fifth and sixth grade so it’s great to play with her again,” she said. “Both of us stuck through it and we were the two girls that started it.”