High school girls basketball / Stow 55, Kent Roosevelt 14: Stifling defense propels Bulldogs
STOW — Sometimes, postseason seeding can be misleading.
There are plenty of examples when a lower seed defeats a higher seed in high school girls basketball, especially if the two teams are local rivals.
When Stow-Munroe Falls hosted Kent Roosevelt in its postseason opener Saturday at James G. Tyree Gymnasium, however, it was a matchup of the Northeast 1 district's No. 2 seed and No. 35 seed.
Let's say the result followed the seeding this time.
Stow sprinted out to a 10-0 lead to start and never let up, running away with a 55-14 win.
Stow (19-2) advanced to host Warren Howland in a Division I sectional final Thursday. The Bulldogs are also set to close out their regular season Monday at home against Hudson.
The Bulldogs were so dominant that Stow coach coach Bob Podges played his junior varsity squad for more than half the game.
"We have a lot of kids that can play," Podges said. "One of the reasons that we try to not take a bye in the playoffs is to get those girls some playing time. They certainly held their own.
"The defense is constant for us. Our JV players just lack some of the necessary physical abilities to score at this level. That's to be expected."
Roosevelt coach Craig Foreman said there was no way for his team to simulate Stow's suffocating defense in practice.
"We've only played 10 games this season and that's the best team we've seen, by far," Foreman said. "You think you're ready for it, but when you get out there, it's a whole different level. Hats off to them. They're very good at what they do."
Stow was in command from the opening tip, as forward Kristin Chmielewski put up seven points to anchor Stow's opening 10-0 run. Chmielewski finished with 13 points.
From there, Lilee Carlson took over. The Bulldogs' captain showed off every aspect of her game.
Carlson finished with a game-high 22 points, despite playing less than a half of basketball.
"Lilee has been shooting the ball extremely well the last few weeks," Podges said. "Kristin has as well."
Stow led 21-2 after one quarter, as a long jumper from Ari Crockett was all the Rough Riders (2-9) could muster in the first eight minutes.
Despite Podges putting his JV team in during the second half, the defense was even more suffocating.
Roosevelt's lone point in the second quarter came from a free throw from senior Kassidy Fischer.
With the Bulldogs' JV in, a unique situation occurred. Kassidy Fischer found herself playing against Stow freshman Mallory Fischer — her younger sister — for long stretches of the game.
Kassidy Fischer led the Rough Riders with five points. Mallory Fischer had three points for the Bulldogs.
Ahead 37-3 at the half, Podges chose to start his JV squad in the second half. The Bulldogs reserves still played well enough to invoke the OHSAA's running-clock rule by taking a 35-point lead.
Roosevelt finished with 20 turnovers, and Foreman said it was tough for his team to stay sharp.
"It's human nature to get down when you're losing like that," Foreman said. "I've been doing this for 15 years. There's been years where, against Stow, we couldn't get the ball over half court before they stole it.
"I was happy with our girls for how they handled the pressure. They actually got shots off, even if they didn't fall and we rushed."