TALLMADGE — When it comes to the Tallmadge girls basketball team, it goes something like this: Where Lizzie Bickar goes, so do the Blue Devils.
At least for one afternoon, such a cold, hard fact wasn’t 100-percent accurate.
That’s because a couple of underclassmen gleefully picked up the slack.
Host Tallmadge ended a two-game losing streak after earning a 49-42 victory over Ravenna Saturday at James O. Maddox Court.
The Blue Devils (5-4), who were outscored by a combined total of 46 points in their previous two losses, committed 11 turnovers and missed shot after shot in the first half. As a result, Tallmadge was down 24-18 at halftime.
"The same thing has been haunting us the last couple of games: turnovers," Blue Devils’ first-year head coach Brett Bickar said. "In the first half, we were not passing the ball really well."
Surprisingly, most of the dents on the rim came from Lizzie Bickar. The standout senior point guard had a rough afternoon shooting-wise as 13 of her 18 attempts found iron.
"It was clearly Lizzie’s worst shooting day of the season," Coach Bickar said. "She took good shots; the ball moved; the girls made good passes to her. She had good looks. She just didn’t finish it [Saturday]."
No worries for Tallmadge, though.
Freshman guard Natalie Ries led the Blue Devils with 17 points, including four 3-pointers. Tallmadge also got a strong performance from 6-foot-1 sophomore center Addie Bowman, who came off the bench and dominated the inside with a game-high 13 rebounds. She also had three steals.
"Natalie stepped up," Coach Bickar said. "Addie, [senior forward] Jill [Catalano] made a couple baskets here and there. [Junior guard/forward] Gia [Currey] made a 3 in the first half. If we move the ball, if we get good shots, scoring will come."
It’s much easier to score if you get second and third chances. Thanks to Bowman’s work on the boards, the Blue Devils were able to maintain possession even when their shots found iron.
"She had been a little bit down lately," Coach Bickar said of Bowman. "Her activity picked up and that’s what we preach to her. Be active, follow the ball offensively and defensively and good things are going to happen.
"We’ll feed you when we can. She can get a lot of opportunities by being more active on offense. Her rebounding was very good. When she’s in there, she controls half the lane. She did a great job."
Catalano added nine points, seven rebounds and three steals for Tallmadge. Her free throw late in the third period gave the Blue Devils the lead for good (34-33). Tallmadge outscored the Ravens 18-9 in the quarter.
"In the second half, I thought we cleaned it up," Coach Bickar said. "The ball reversal was much better. That was our game plan going in. We just didn’t execute it in the first half."
Sophomore forward Emily Ervin led Ravenna with 17 points. No other member of the Ravens scored more than six points.
Ravenna had a couple of key performers play with pain.
Although she was in the starting lineup, senior guard Avery Robinson saw just eight minutes of action because of a knee injury. Ervin also played through an injury that she suffered in the Ravens’ previous game.
As for the Blue Devils’ star, she managed to fill up the stat sheet despite an off-shooting afternoon.
Lizzie Bickar proved that she’s no one-trick pony. Her value to her team can be measured in a plethora of ways.
The gifted teenager was still able to make her presence known, thanks to her 14 points, nine rebounds, six assists and five steals to go along with her fair share of deflections, as well.
"We talked about everything else she does on the court," Coach Bickar said of his talented playmaker. "That’s what we’re trying to get the whole team to do. If you have a bad shooting day, you can still contribute to the win with rebounds, assists, steals, deflections. There’s a lot more to the game.
"For some of the younger girls, we want them to really watch that and learn and say, ‘Hey, I can shoot the ball poorly, but still have an impact and help my team win the game.’ That’s what happened [Saturday]."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.