Bears knock off Devils, 49-44

GREENFORD – The third meeting between the Leetonia Bears and Western Reserve Blue Devils looked a lot like their previous encounters, but in the end, the Devils came from behind in the fourth quarter and prevailed with a 49-44 victory in the Division IV sectional tournament on Saturdday at South Range.

The loss ends the Bears season at 8-13, while the Devils will now face Lowellville at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Leetonia had the lead 38-32 just over a minute into the fourth quarter, but from there the Devils went on a 13-0 run to go up 45-38. The key basket for the Devils came with the game tied at 38, and 5:12 remaining in the contest. The Devils’ April Lude buried a three-point shot to power them to a 41-38 advantage.

“The three-point shot that April hit when we were tied late, to me that was probably the turning point in the game. When she hit that it kind of took the wind out of their sails,” Devils coach Josh Scott said.

“It definitely took the air out of tires,” Bears coach Kelly Paxson said. “Especially when we came out in the third quarter and played so well.”

Lude scored a game-high 15 points for the Devils, the Bears were led by Emily Schneider with 13-points and Nicole Mann with 10.

The Bears tried to make one last charge when Kinzie Smith would hit a basket with 22 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 47-44, but Lude hit two free throws moments later to seal the victory for the Devils.

“We just kind of ran out of steam. I give all the credit in the world to Western Reserve. They are a great team, they have great coaches, their shots fell, and they stayed with it,” Paxson said.

“We have had a up and down season, and we were fortunate to get a little bit healthy as of late, and get some kids that have been out for awhile,” Scott said.

Starting forward Linley Mamonis had been out for the Devils earlier in the season.