Western clinches share of FC with win at St. Paul

Cary Ashby • Updated Feb 3, 2018 at 11:31 PM

NORWALK — Western Reserve clinched at least a share of the Firelands Conference with a double-digit win Saturday over St. Paul.

The Roughriders (14-2) remain undefeated in the FC, improving to 11-0 with the 41-30 win at the St. Paul Convocation Center. St. Paul fel to 12-6 overall and 9-3 in the FC.

Western outscored the Lady Flyers in each quarter. The biggest margin was four points in the second quarter, when the ‘Riders had nine points compared to five from the home team.

Western senior Brooke Ommert scored all 11 of her points in the first half. She also grabbed six rebounds and distributed two assists. Junior Cora Wyers had a double-double, grabbing 10 rebounds to go with 10 points. She also blocked three St. Paul shots.

St. Paul started out aggressively, but Western battled back. The score was locked up at 9-all with 1:54 left in the first quarter, but Western was up 13-11 to end the quarter.

“We were trying to get our bearings and decide which way we were going to attack them from half court,” Western Reserve coach Laura Pierson said. Once they figured it out, they did a nice job. They are an aggressive team. They play with a lot of heart.

“They’ve been knocking off teams left and right in the Firelands Conference, so they did what they needed to do,” she added. “We’ve got a little more size and length on them on the inside. They also got the offensive boards extremely well. We need to get defensive boards a little bit better, and that’s a testament to the St. Paul girls’ hearts.”

Western started the second quarter on a 9-0 run to open up a 22-11 with 2:20 until halftime.

“We started to get the ball to our post players a little bit,” Pierson said. “And then once we got them to double-down on our post players, we were able to get more outside looks going and attack the basket so we could get to the free-throw line.”

Western outscored St. Paul 14-4 at the free-throw line. 

“We are really working hard on attacking the basket, (we’ve) established a three-point game, we have an inside game with our post players — our 6-footers — but now we are looking at the guards to attack the basket and get to the free-throw line, stop the clock and get the game going on our side,” Pierson said.

St. Paul cut down Western’s lead to 22-16 at halftime.

“In all honesty, we told them at halftime that they’re not necessarily a second-half team … so we told we had to come out strong in the second half and put it to them,” Lady Flyers coach Vicky Mahl said. “We kept telling the girls, ‘You gotta keep going at them.’”

It was a two-point game (26-24) with 4:41 left in the third quarter. About three minutes later, the ‘Riders had a 33-25 advantage, which was the score to end the quarter.

“You hold a team that’s used to scoring what — above 60 points — to 41 points and I think for the most part they earned those points,” Mahl said. “We made them earn it from the free-throw line, and then everything they got they earned. I thought we did a pretty good job on their outside shooters.”

Western started the fourth quarter with four straight points. The visitors only scored four more points the rest of the game.

“Take nothing away; they’re a good ball team, but defensively today we caused them a lot of problems,” Mahl said.

Two St. Paul players hit double digits. Sophomore Megan Hammersmith led the way with 13 points to go with five rebounds and an assist.

“I thought Megan did a nice job inside. She wasn’t afraid to go at their big girls,” Mahl said. “I don’t think their big girls were as big of a factor as they were the first time we played them.”

Freshman Danielle Smith scored 11 points. She also had five rebounds and a steal.

Each team faces non-league opponents next.

Western goes to Norwalk on Tuesday, while St. Paul entertains Edison on the same night.

“We have a big week,” Pierson said. “We are at Norwalk on Tuesday and then we have a home make-up game (against) New London (on) Thursday night — and then we go to South Central next Saturday.

So this is going to be a big sell for us to try and solidify some of the things we’ve been doing,” she added. “Not only for a Firelands Conference championship — a sole Firelands Conference championship, because we did have to share it last year — but also to have our juices flowing and all of our players clicking into the tournament.”

Follow Reflector staff writer Cary Ashby on Twitter at @Cary_reporter and on Facebook at “Cary Ashby — reporter & comic book blogger.”

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