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Warriors run past Chipps

West Branch's Anna Lippiatt

BELOIT–For the first five minutes of Saturday’s girls basketball contest between West Branch and Chippewa, it looked like the Warriors might run the Chipps out of Beloit.

The Warriors started the game on a 13-2 run and put the Chipps on their heels very early on. The Warriors would end up riding that start to a 54-47 victory to move to 3-1 on the season.

“I thought we had a great first quarter and we’ve been looking for that,” West Branch coach Walt DeShields said. “(Jillian) Pidegeon hitting a couple of threes and (Anna) Lippiatt hitting a three and she had a really good first quarter which I thought gave us confidence right off the get go.”

However, the Chipps made some adjustments and fought back, getting the score to 25-18 at the half.

“I told the girls at halftime that we have the lead but they can shoot it,” DeShields said. “Every one of them can shoot it. And also (Chippewa) coach (Denny) Schrock is a great coach and they have a great program over there and they win all the time. A lot of respect for him.”

DeShields was correct and the Chipps were able to outscore the Warriors 19-13 in the third quarter and even briefly take the lead with 30 seconds left in the third. West Branch was able to take the lead back with a basket right before the fourth, a moment that coach DeShields said was a huge momentum turn.

“We came back with a shot and made it and took the lead back going into the fourth quarter,” DeShields said. “Looking up at the clock with a lead makes a big difference on mindset going into the fourth quarter. We had the lead and all we had to do was keep that lead and finish it up for eight more minutes.”

The Warriors did hold on for a key victory over a solid Chippewa team.

Pidgeon and Lippiatt led the way for the Warriors with 12 points each. Sydney Mercer added nine points and nine rebounds. The Warriors controlled the paint outrebounding the Chipps 31-16.

“We came out knowing what we had to do and we knew this was going to be a good win for us,” Pidgeon said. “It took a lot of teamwork and I thought we moved the ball well and were patient on offense to get good shots.

“We knew what we wanted to do on defense and getting stops was a big part of that,” Pidgeon said. “Slowing down on offense and we knew we could get open shots if we just moved the ball and we did and we ended up responding and getting to the rim. We knew our second half shots would come in the second half and then our post did a good job down low and finishing it.”

The Warriors played great defense all game long and that is something DeShields said has to continue for the Warriors to be successful.

“Our program has always put defense first and every girl knows that if they don’t play defense that aren’t going to play much,” DeShields said. “It has been the cornerstone of our program for many, many years and it helps us stay in the game and in close games, you are going to have to play defense, especially down the stretch. I thought we got some great stops there at the end.”

Chippewa (1-2) was led by Taylor Thomas with 13 points and three of the teams eight three-pointers.

The Warriors may be off to an impressive 3-1 start, but through the first two weeks of the season, they are even more excited about one certain thing.

“Really just happy to be playing,” DeShields said. “There are a lot of teams that I have seen canceled in the paper and on social media. It is a blessing to play. It can turn around tomorrow and something happens and next thing you know you are shutdown for two weeks so we are just happy to be playing each game. Everytime we go in that gym we know it is a blessing to be there.”

West Branch is next at Austintown Fitch on Wednesday with a 5:30 jayvee start.

In jayvee action, Chippewa won 51-43.

CHIPPEWA: 10-8-19-10–47

W. BRANCH: 15-10-13-16–54

CHIPPEWA SCORING: Sophie Cazzolli 1-1-3, Allison Henegar 1-0-3, Annabel Rodriguez 3-1-7, Taylor Lambert 2-0-6, Kendal Shiarla 4-0-10, Jackie Jundzilo 1-3-5, Taylor Thomas 4-2-13. TEAM TOTALS: 16, 7-7:47

W. BRANCH SCORING: Emma Egli 1-5-7, Jillian Pidgeon 5-0-12, Bella Laut 1-1-4, Riley Tuel 1-2-4, Sophie Gregory 0-0-0, Sydney Mercer 4-1-9, Anna Lippiatt 4-2-12, Livvie Showalter 3-0-6. TEAM TOTALS: 19, 11-18: 54.

Three-point goals: Chippewa 8 (Thomas 3, Shiarla 2, Lambert 2, Henegar), West Branch 5 (Pidgeon 2, Lippiatt 2, Laut).

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