Severens' big week lifts Tallmadge girls basketball

Roger Gordon
Correspondent

Ashlyn Severns just may have played her way onto the varsity team for good.

Usually playing three quarters junior varsity and three quarters varsity, the Tallmadge freshman guard had a dream week in two games against Suburban League American Conference rival Kent Roosevelt.

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First, on Jan. 23 at Kent Roosevelt, Severns hit the go-ahead basket with her foot on the three-point line with 14 seconds remaining in a 39-38 victory.

“What was really impressive was that earlier in the second half, Ashlyn had taken some shots that hadn’t gone in, but she had the confidence, as a freshman, to put up a shot from that distance for the win,” Blue Devils head coach Joe Leonard said. “It just showed tremendous confidence in herself. She should be really proud.”

Severns ended up scoring six points, all in the fourth quarter.

On Wednesday, Severns rebounded a missed shot and put the ball in the hoop with one second to go in a 53-51 triumph over the Rought Riders at James O. Maddox Court. Tallmadge improved to 5-5 on the season.

“We got up three points with 30 seconds to go. Kent Roosevelt came down and hit a three-pointer to tie the score with 15 seconds to go,” said Leonard. “We brought the ball down, and one of our girls threw a shot up, it went off the board and Ashlyn was on the opposite side. She grabbed the rebound and put it right in. Time ran out, and Kent Roosevelt didn’t even get a chance to inbound the ball. It was huge.”

Severns wound up with nine points, six in the final period.

“Ashlyn also played aggressive defense all night,” Leonard said. “To be as calm and composed as she is as a freshman is very impressive. I’m happy for her.”

In both wins over Kent Roosevelt, Tallmadge recovered from huge deficits. In the first game the Blue Devils trailed 9-8 after one quarter, 27-20 at halftime and 32-20 midway through the third quarter before making it 34-24 heading into the fourth quarter. Tallmadge outscored the Red Riders 15-4 in the final period.

“I liked our shot selection, but they just weren’t falling,” said the coach. “Before the fourth quarter I told the girls, ‘Keep shooting, keep shooting. Good things will happen.’ And the shots started to fall. We played solid defense in the fourth quarter and turned it around.”

Sophomore guard/forward Maya Dexter scored 14 points.

“Maya was, as usual, very solid driving to the basket,” Leonard said. “She also shot the ball well from the perimeter.”

In the second game against Kent Roosevelt Tallmadge was down 13-10 after the first quarter, 30-22 at halftime and trailed by 17 points during the third quarter before cutting its deficit to 41-30 entering the fourth quarter. The Blue Devils outscored the Red Riders 23-10 in the final period.

“When we were down big we went to a smaller lineup and started a man-to-man press,” said Leonard. “The momentum by the fourth quarter was clearly ours. We just kept grinding, and we took our first lead with about two-and-a-half minutes to go.”

Dexter scored 14 points, while freshman guard Sydney Becks had 13 points.

“Maya was her usual self, driving aggressively to the basket,” the coach said. “Sydney has really been playing well as of late. She was driving hard to the basket, too. She was 7-of-9 from the foul line.”

Sandwiched in between the thrilling wins over Kent Roosevelt was a 35-27 victory at Streetsboro Monday.

Tallmadge led 12-10 after one quarter, 23-19 at halftime and 29-25 after three quarters.

“It was close most of the game,” said Leonard. “Both teams played tremendous defense, and points very difficult to come by. It was the best defense we’ve played all season long. It was fantastic. Streetsboro didn’t score in the last seven minutes of the game.”

Becks scored 13 points, and Dexter had six points.

“Sydney and I spoke before the game about her relaxing and being more confident and more aggressive, and she took that to heart,” Leonard said. “She was super aggressive all night long, driving to the basket. It was the best game she’s had this season.”

Tallmadge was scheduled to play at Copley Saturday at 2:30 p.m. before hosting Aurora Monday at 7 p.m. The Blue Devils are set to travel to both Barberton Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Highland Feb. 6 at 2:30 p.m. All four are American Conference matchups.