A family affair

Lady Dragons take down Erie, 45-34, before participating in annual alumni game

Photo submitted to the Times Observer Warren Lady Dragon basketball players, past and present, gather following the team’s annual alumni game at Warren Area High School, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018. Prior to the alumni game, the former players watched as the current crop of Lady Dragons defeated Erie, 45-34, to move to 5-0 on the season in the final game before the Christmas break.

The Warren Lady Dragons basketball team is riding a huge wave of momentum heading into the Christmas break.

The Dragons remained perfect on the season with a 45-34 win over visiting Erie Saturday. The Royals came in averaging over 50 points per game, and the 34 they scored Saturday was their lowest output of the season.

“The execution of the defensive gameplan was huge,” Warren coach Lisa LaVan said. “They came in averaging 51 and we held them to 34. It was a great team defensive game.”

Neither team was able to get much going offensively early. Through the first eight minutes, the Dragons (5-0) and Royals (5-3) had scored a combined 13 points, with Warren holding a 7-6 lead.

“I thought we were a little stagnat on offense,” LaVan said. “We want to go fast, but we slowed it down on defense, which slowed us down on offense.”

Warren pushed the lead to three by halftime, 17-14, and had held Erie’s two leading scorers, Dauzhanay Harden (12.38 ppg) and Kalayziah Gore (9.28), to a combined nine points in the half.

“The biggest thing for us was taking away their penetration and offensive rebounds,” LaVan said. “They’re almost like a hockey team. They throw it to the board and pray for a rebound. We still continue to fight for rebounds and I love that.”

By the end of the third, Erie had trimmed it back to a 1-point game, 29-28, but Warren went 11-13 from the free throw line in the fourth to seal the win. The Royals attempted just two free throws in the game.

“We scored 14 (total) points on free throws,” LaVan said.

Gore was the only Royals player to score in double figures with 11 points. Harden finished with six and Erie’s third leading scorer, Alanna Mitchell, had only two.

“Emma (Ruhlman) and Riley (Childress) guarded two of their highest scorers and held them to two and six points,” LaVan said.

While Ruhlman was held scoreless, and Childress limited to six points (four from the free throw line), Alanna Hultberg and Taylor Childress stepped in to fill the void offensively, and scored 10 and eight points, respectively.

“Alanna and Taylor stepped up for us,” LaVan said. “We’ve been most happy with this group that they’ve got each other’s backs. They’re a very unselfish team, which is going to take them far.”

Margo Loutzenhiser led the Dragons with 19 points, and Ruhlman had a team-high eight rebounds.

Warren heads into a short Christmast break undefeated and knowing it can play against some of the toughest teams in the region and opponents with varying offensive and defensive schemes.

“I just can’t believe this stretch,” LaVan said. “These last four games were tough. We had road wins against McDowell and Greenville and home against Panama (N.Y.) and Erie. It comes down to figuring out a way to win games and come in with different gameplans.

“I’ve always believed the upperclassmen were flexible,” she said. “(The underclassmen) they’re all gamers. They all love the game and being on the floor together. If you’re stronger together than separate, you’re going to go a long ways.”

Following the win, Warren held its annual alumni game and had more than 20 alumni in attendance, and 13 who participated in the game.

“It’s nice having a lot of alumni back and able to watch them play,” LaVan said. “It’s very cool.”

The Dragons will only have a few days to rest as they head to the Oil City Holiday Tournament Thursday and will play the host team that night. Given the way they’ve been playing, LaVan said it’s better to have a bit shorter break.

“I think it’s important to keep that momentum going,” she said. “I’m glad we have the tournament to go work on some of our weaknesses. Come January, you’re sometimes playing every other night.”

– – –

Erie (34)

Gore 5-1-2-11, Harden 3-0-0-6, Henderson 2-0-0-5, Rivera 2-0-0-5, Altadonna 1-0-0-3, Mitchell 1-0-0-2, Tate 1-0-0-2, Wells 0-0-0-0, Pirrello 0-0-0-0, Kashind 0-0-0-0, Cruz 0-0-0-0, Roberts 0-0-0-0, Team 15-1-2-34.

Warren (45)

Loutzenhiser 4-10-13-19, Hultberg 5-0-0-10, T. Childress 3-0-0-8, R. Childress 1-4-4-6, Stuart 1-0-0-2, Madigan 0-0-0-0, Ruhlman 0-0-0-0, Matson 0-0-0-0, Paris 0-0-0-0, Team 14-14-17-45

By quarters

Erie 6 8 14 6 – 34

Warren 7 10 12 16 – 45

3-point FGs: Erie (3)-Henerson, Rivera, Altadonna. Warren (3)-T. Childress 2, Loutzenhiser

– – –

MAPLEWOOD 67, EISENHOWER 32

GUYS MILLS, Pa. – Maplewood was firing on all cylindars, especially from 3-point range, and the Tigers rolled to a 67-32 win over visiting Eisenhower in a Region 2 contest Saturday.

The Tigers connected on seven 3-pointers in the game, including five in the first half.

“We knew they were going to be 3-point shooters,” Eisenhower coach Mike Logue said. “They hit three in the first quarter and two in the second and did a nice job getting open off screens.”

Maplewood (4-3 overall, 3-1 Region 2) was also stout defensively. The Tigers limited Emily Wheeler, the Knights’ (3-3, 2-2) to just three points.

“They were really trying to stop our inside game with Wheeler and (Lydia) Giannini,” Logue said. “Both of them are a little banged up and sore from earlier in the week. They did a good job of shutting those two down.”

Giannini did put up a team-high 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Maplewood took advantage of Eisenhower’s mistakes and forced the Knights into a number of turnovers.

“We probably had more turnovers than shots,” Logue said. “We’re young and as young as we are, we’re also inexperienced at the varsity level and we’re going to have days where we have trouble with teams putting pressure on us.”

Delaney Chase added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Knights.

Eisenhower heads to Kane Thursday for the Wolves’ Holiday Tournament. The Knights will open play against North Clarion at 6 p.m.

– – –

Eisenhower (32)

Beaver 0-2-2-2, Wheeler 1-1-2-3, Renninger 2-0-0-4, Chase 3-3-6-10, Courtney 1-0-0-2, Giannini 4-3-12-11, Strausser , Olson 0-0-0-0, Mohney 0-0-0-0, Smith 0-0-0-0, Team

Maplewood

Snyder 2-1-4-5, Roser 6-1-2-16, Thomas 5-0-0-10, C. Mangus 1-2-3-4, M. Mangus 5-1-1-13, Eimer 2-0-2-4, Atkins 2-2-2-8, Doolittle 3-0-0-6, Hill 0-3-4-3, Joseph 0-0-2-0

By quarters

Eisenhower 6 8 7 11 – 32

Maplewood 16 22 17 12 – 67

3-point FGs: Eisenhower (1)-Chase. Maplewood (7)-Roser 3, M. Mangus 2, Atkins 2.

COMMENTS