South Range didn’t want the season to end
CUYAHOGA FALLS — For the second season in a row, the South Range girls basketball team’s season ends in the Division III regional final.
The Raiders fell behind 12th-ranked Apple Creek Waynedale 29-8 in the second quarter before losing 55-41 on Saturday at Cuyahoga Falls High School.
South Range coach Jeff Fishel said “this game was really a personification of our season, We got hit hard early and we battled back and got an awful lot to proud of.”
South Range ends its season at 23-5.
Waynedale improves to 25-1 and is heading to the state semifinals for the first time.
Waynedale jumped out to a 13-2 lead in the first quarter and 21-4 halfway through the second quarter. The Raiders were able to cut the Bears lead to 30-17 at the half.
“They were shooting lights out and we knew they could do that and they did today in the first half,” Fishel said. “When you shoot that well that is what happens.
“We battled as hard as we possibly could. I am so proud of the fight these girls showed because they could have just gave up but anyone who knows what we have been through this season knows that there is no give up in these girls and they fought until the bitter end.”
The Raiders have been hit hard on the injury front this season. Starter Gabby Lamparty missed most of the season with a season-ending knee injury and starters Izzy Lamparty and Bree Kohler each missed significant time this season with injuries, but they were able to return.
The Raiders outscored the Bears 14-7 in the third quarter, but only scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and could not complete the comeback.
“Sometimes when you are down by that much, you spend so much energy to get back into it that makes it really tough to get over the hump,” Fishel said.
Izzy Lamparty led the Raiders with 15 points. Lexi Giles added 12 points and Mallory Vidman eight points.
“They faceguarded Izzy and Lexi and once we made some adjustments we wanted to space them out a bit and attack the middle and once we were able to attack the middle, it just kind of spread things out for us and that is when we work a little bit better,” Fishel said. “That gave Lexi and Izzy some driving lanes and they were able to get some looks at the basket.”
“We were trying to eliminate (Izzy’s) touches close to the basket,” Waynedale coach Rick Geisel said. “We decided we weren’t going to let her get shot after shot under the basket unless it was in transition. She still got there in transition some, but we were going to make somebody else beat us. It is risk reward.”
Geisel added “When you go against really good teams and really good players, you have to pick and choose your battles.
“She is also gifted enough to be on the perimeter and has a great first step so we had to put somebody on her that is a perimeter defender on her as well,” Geisel said. “Then we were cheating off to clog up the paint so she couldn’t get all the way to the rim.”
For Waynedale, Brooklyn Troyer had 28 points. Troyer scored all of Waynedale’s 18 fourth-quarter points to close out the game.
“She has been that her whole life,” Geisel said. “She just has a will to win that is remarkable. As do a lot of these other girls. She is just relentless at finishing games in the fourth quarter. She has done that game after game for us and in our big games and she is a big part of why we are where we are, but that whole senior class is really special and I am proud of all of them.”
Freshman Alyssa Geiser added 12 points and four three-pointers, all in the first half.
The Bears did a nice job of answering the South Range run and momentum shift in the third quarter.
“It made us tighten up a little bit,” Geiser said. “That is a tough situation where we haven’t been in a lot of close games so being able to will our way through and execute down the stretch and finish the game, that was a remarkable performance by our girls.”
Geiser knew the Raiders would make a run to get back in the game.
“They are really good and that is why they are here,” he said. “They are well coached and there kids are winners. They have won a ton games as well and that is why they were able to make that run.”
For South Range, the Raiders will return a lot of talent, but will lose a group of seniors that have accomplished so much in four years.
“We lose a pair of four-year starters,” Fishel said. “Their leadership and what the younger girls have seen them do and accomplish, not many have come through our doors that have accomplished what Bree and Izzy have and they are going to leave a legacy here that no one will ever forget.”
• Waynedale has not lost a game in 2021 and has won 22 straight games.
• Shaker Heights Laurel defeated Perry 54-31 in the Div. II regional final Friday.
Laurel defeated South Range in their season opener 72-51. Perry defeated Salem 41-40 on a three-pointer at the buzzer in the Div. II district final.
WAYNEDALE: 13-17- 7-18–55
SOUTH RANGE: 2-15-14-10–41
WAYNEDALE SCORING: Alyssa Geiser 4-0-12, Kelsey Wolfe 3-2-9, Makenzie Reber 0-1-1, Laney Murphy 1-2-4, Brooklyn Yoder 0-0-0, Haley Mist 0-0-0, Charlyn Miller 0-1-1, Brooklyn Troyer 7-14-28. TEAM TOTALS: 15, 20-27: 55.
SOUTH RANGE SCORING: Izzy Lamparty 5-5-15, Bree Kohler 2-0-4, Hannah Crouse 0-0-0, Mallory Vidman 4-0-8, Emma Cunningham 0-0-0, Devin Sauerwein 0-0-0, Lexi Giles 4-4-12, Hannah Heikkinen 1-0-2, Taylor McClish 0-0-0, Sophia Lowery 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 16, 9-15: 41.
Three-point goals: Waynedale 5 (Geiser 4, Wolfe).