An incredible perimeter shooting performance by Wadsworth early on drained the energy of the Twinsburg girls basketball team.
In a league matchup of two former powerhouse programs that are young and building, a sizzling long-range shooting display powered the visiting Grizzlies to a 69-30 win Saturday.
With only one senior in its current rotation, the Grizzlies drilled a whopping nine 3-point shots in the first half alone.
That led to a 47-point first half as Wadsworth had 15 of its 19 assists and forced 14 Tiger turnovers for a 33-point cushion.
"They really got hot," noted head coach Jess Rader as Wadsworth buried five of its first six triples to start the game.
When Emily Rhoades canned a 3-point bomb at the 4:33 mark of the first period, it was 15-2.
Back-to-back buckets by Tiger Jada Austin sliced the lead to 18-8 with 2:21 left, but Wadsworth promptly went on a 29-6 spurt.
"Sometimes teams get hot like that and it doesn’t matter what you do, but at the half, we talked about things we could do and things we could control," explained Rader.
"We talked about doing a better job of closing out on shooters, and getting higher up, and doing better at fighting through screens, and verbally communicating more. I thought we did those things in the second half."
For the most part, it worked.
Despite a tighter player rotation due to the recent injury to do-it-all guard Alana Ellis, Twinsburg had a solid second half.
Thanks to an early 8-4 run, the Tigers (2-5) outscored Wadsworth in the third period and held the Grizzlies to just six points. Twinsburg also committed only five turnovers in the second half and allowed just nine field goals.
Overall, the energy was much better despite some fatigue.
There were times in the loss where offensive movement came to a screeching halt.
"Offensively, the girls made some bad decisions and had poor shot selection when we got tired," pointed out Rader.
It was refreshing to see senior guard Faith Gregory hustle in the second half and in the fourth quarter despite the lopsided score.
Gregory, who had eight points all in the second half, even forced a five-second call with her aggressive man defensive pressure in the fourth quarter.
"Faith did respond in the second half," observed Rader. "At the half, we challenged her and she showed us that she is a great leader."
Austin, a junior guard, had 12 points and pulled down nine rebounds.
Freshman forward Genesis Carthen showed flashes of her potential as she had six points, two blocked shots and helped on the glass.
"We had some underclassmen and freshmen who really fought hard and that was great to see," said Rader.
Twinsburg, which fell to 2-4 in the Suburban League National Conference, was fueled by the play of the freshmen trio of Carthen, guard Alexis Cellura, and forward Sophie Adick.
Wadsworth (6-5, 4-2) was led by guard Maggie Long, who had 19 first half points behind five of the team’s 10 treys.
Wing Taylor Leatherman had a strong floor game with 15 points, six boards, and five assists while Ciena Matheny made three triples and had 15 points.
In upcoming league action, Twinsburg plays at Hudson Wednesday and hosts Nordonia Saturday. The Tigers host a non-league game against Cleveland Lutheran East Monday.