United leads wire-to-wire in EOAC win over Toronto

TORONTO — United led from start to finish and soared past the Toronto Red Knights, 38-26, in an Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference matchup inside the the George J. Gunzler Memorial Gymnasium.

The loss snapped Toronto’s five-game winning streak.

“Initially, I thought we were playing well, but I could not count the amount of layups we missed in the first two or three minutes,” Toronto (7-7) head coach Rusty Hodgkiss said. “We should have been 12-2 or 14-2, but we weren’t. From that point, I think the difference was they played at a sprint, and we played at a jog. They got the loose balls. They got the rebounds. When we did get a rebound, they would close up our outlet and shut down our break. We did not shoot the ball well. They played with more energy than we did.”

Toronto had a rough night shooting, as well as keeping possession of the ball. The Red Knights ended the night with 26 turnovers and scored in single digits in all four quarters.

“I am very proud of our girls,” United (6-7) Terry Kellison said. “Toronto has some talented offensive players. Looking at the film, they were able to take the ball to the basket any time against us the first time we played them. We also knew they have some good 3-point shooters. They can shoot from the perimeter. They are a tough team to prepare for. They are well coached.”

United led by 10 after the first, and the Golden Eagles led by as many as 18 points in the fourth.

Maddie Anderson delivered a team-high eight points to go along with a game-high 13 rebounds for Toronto, while Kendal Thomas collected seven points.

“We did a couple little things different defensively,” Kellison said. “We did a couple different things with our zone. We did some things the league has not seen yet. We are starting our second time through the league.

“We have a lack of size, so we have to get after it. I was not happy with the number of fouls we had, but we will clean that up. When you want to play with so much intensity, it is hard for them to put the breaks on.”

Two players scored in double figures to lead United. Loren Swords scored a game-high 14 points, while Celeste Hofmeister finished with a double-double of 10 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.

“It is fun when it is easy,” Hodgkiss said. “Tonight wasn’t easy. We weren’t into the game. We were 5 for 12 from the line in a 12-point game. You can’t have that. You can’t miss layups.

“Mentally, we were some place else, and that is on me. We couldn’t change defenses. We couldn’t change our offensive sets. We were not aware of our surroundings.”

Swords and Hofmeister accounted for all of the Golden Eagles’ scoring in the first quarter. Swords hit two 3-pointers to score the first six points of the night for the victors, while Hofmeister tallied the next eight.

“Loren Swords hit a couple of 3s to get us going,” Kellison said. “That really helped us. That helped her confidence.

“Our point guard is Destiny Hill. She is a sophomore. She is something special. She makes things happen. It is like having another coach on the floor.”

United led 14-4 at the end of the first. Toronto committed nine turnovers in the first eight minutes.

The Golden Eagles extended their advantage to 22-9 at halftime. They led by as many as 16 points (22-6) in the quarter.

United led 32-18 entering the fourth. The Golden Eagles led by as many as 17 (32-15) on a basket by Swords.

A basket by Kyleigh Daggy gave the Golden Eagles a 36-18 lead in the fourth before the Red Knights scored the final eight points of the night.

“Give credit to United,” Hodgkiss said. “They are hard to score on. They play defense the way I wish we played defense. They are quick in the gaps. They make it hard to get to the basket. They play physical. We didn’t want to get out in run, so we had to play them 5-on-5, and that is hard to do.”

Both teams are scheduled to play league games Monday. Toronto is slated to host Lisbon.

“We have four tough games coming up,” Hodgkiss said. “We play Lisbon Monday at home, we play Catholic Central Wednesday at home, then we play at East Palestine before playing Columbiana here. We have to get things straightened out.”

Meanwhile, United will play at Southern Local.

“We had lost four games in a row, so we needed this win,” Kellison said.

United won the two-quarter jayvee game, 18-15. Madison Boyle led the Golden Eagles with seven points, while Jensyn Jackson scored nine to lead the Red Knights.

UNITED: 14-8-10-6 — 38

TORONTO: 4-5-9-8 — 26

UNITED (6-7): Swords 6 0-0 14; Salmen 0 0-0 0; Boyle 1 0-1 2; Burton 0 0-0 0; Daggy 3 0-0 7; Powers 1 0-1 2; Hill 1 0-0 3; Brickner 0 0-0 0; Burton 0 0-0 0; Hofmeister 4 2-2 10; Drake 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16, 2-4: 38.

TORONTO (7-7): Cottrell 1-3 1; Kinsey 0 0-1 0; Jordan 1 1-4 3; McDonald 1 1-2 3; Anderson 3 2-4 8; Liddick 1 0-0 2; Jackson 1 0-0 2; Thomas 3 0-0 7; Roach 0 0-0 0; Smith 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 10, 5-12: 26.

3-POINT GOALS: United 4 (Swords 2, Daggy, Hill); Toronto 1 (Thomas). REBOUNDS: United 33 (Hofmeister 10); Toronto 43 (Anderson 13).

TURNVOERS: United 15; Toronto 26.


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