The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 12, 2013

Heralds back on track

St. John girls snap 4-game skid with big W

By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — The St. John girls basketball team had lost its way in recent weeks. The Heralds found their way back to the path with a 42-9 victory over New Day at Mahoney Gymnasium on Friday night.

“We were on a four-game losing streak,” St. John coach Nick Iarocci said. “I just wanted a win.

“I explained to the kids the reason for the losing streak was we had stopped playing with fire and emotion. The goal tonight, regardless of the opponent, was to play with fire and emotion. The kids were playing hard. They always play hard, but they didn’t have that fire. I hope tonight we rekindled that fire.”

Brenna Powers had a career night with 16 points to lead the Heralds (5-6, 5-2 in Lake Effect Conference).

“I wouldn’t say it was best game, but it was the most points I’ve scored,” Powers said. “I don’t think I’ve been close to that before.”

Most nights the senior guard doesn’t even take enough shots to score that much.

“We talked in the locker room,” Powers said. “It finally came to me. This is the last time I will ever play, well we have the rest of the reason but this is my last one. I realized I needed to take some risks and be more aggressive.

“I’ve always been an unselfish player. I thought if I had an open shot, I’d take it.”

The Golden Eagles (0-9, 0-5) entered the contest with just five players and were just 3 of 56 (5.5 percent) from the field.

“They give me 100 percent,” New Day coach Charles Hughley said. “The four girls who are suspended and the five who were here usually give me 100 percent. They won’t quit.

“It’s a learning process for them. They’re all pretty much freshmen. We have five first-time players and two seniors.”

New Day may have started with five, but it finished with just four after Nija Roundtree collided with the Heralds’ Alex Ferrante with 6:33 left in the game. Roundtree was woozy and went to the bench with a bloody nose. She was later treated by an ambulance crew for the injury. Ferrante went to the bench but returned to action immediately thereafter.

Instead of playing the Eagles with a five-on-four advantage, Iarocci also used a four-girl lineup.

“For not one second did I consider playing five-on-four,” he said. “I’m not about that. I’ve been at both ends. Sometimes, people look at it differently. It’s a matter of having class and letting people keep their dignity.

“That’s what I wanted to do.”     

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.