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Blue Devils, Bears show a lot of heart

Lisbon's Parker Henthorne (5) looks to shoot by Leetonia's Alyanna Douglas. (Photo by Anthony Fiuza)

LISBON–Lisbon girls basketball team went toe-to-toe with Leetonia on Thursday night as both teams were eyeing another victory in the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference. But, despite the Blue Devils and Bears being rivals, that didn’t stop them from joining the same side in support of the Melina Michelle Edenfield Foundation.

The Edenfield foundation was created to help raise awareness and money to find a cure for Diffuse Midline Glioma (DMG) and Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) pediatric brain tumors after Melina Michelle Edenfield, 4, passed way due to DMG on June 24, 2020.

Since Melina chose to face this adversity with a strong spirit and positive outlook ‘The Choose Joy’ event was also created to honor her.

At Lisbon High School, $726 was raised for The Choose Joy event during the basketball game. Fans also wore T-shirts that read, “We fight cancer” on the front of them.

Lisbon coach Ryan Snyder thought it was good to see his players be apart of a noteworthy evening.

“It’s great to have the girls realize how important giving back to the community is and giving back to a great organization like the Melina Edenfield Foundation,” Snyder said. “They (Lisbon players) love the Edenfield girls. They are now a part of the Lisbon family. For us to contribute a little amount to that (foundation) is just amazing.”

“It meant a lot. Kids took that to heart. It’s a good cause to be involved in. I’m proud our kids played their hearts out,” Bears coach John Hritz said.

Lisbon would end up edging Leetonia, 41-40, and capped off the night by letting the Edenfield sisters celebrate with the team.

The Blue Devils got together with the girls after the game and formed a huddle around mid-court. Lisbon also let the girls change the victory tally that is displayed on the gym wall near the scorers table.

“Any event that they’re at, I feel like they’re always with students from Lisbon,” Snyder said. “Normally seniors change the number, but it was the seniors that came to me and said, ‘Hey let’s let the Edenfield girls change it. Lisbon students have embraced the Edenfield girls.”

Lisbon’s Parker Henthorne is glad her team can help the girls have a fun time at their games.

“It’s really important. I know they look up to us a lot. It’s really special to have them. I know that they enjoy coming here and you can tell by the smiles on their faces,”she said.

Henthorne posted a double-double with 20 points and 12 boards for the Blue Devils (6-7, 6-3 EOAC). Teammate Cami Freeland scored all 10 of her points in the second half, including an eventual game-winning three from the right corner with 37 seconds left in the fourth period.

“It’s crazy, because I haven’t been doing too good with my threes. I just shot it and prayed that I would make it. I was running down the court clapping. I was so excited,” Freeland said.

Leetonia did hold a 26-18 advantage, but ultimately the Blue Devils found their stride. Henthorne thought her Lisbon teammates did an exceptional job distributing the rock, which played a key role in her success.

“At the beginning of the third quarter they started boxing one on me. I knew I needed to get a pick for myself. Even my teammates helped out a lot. I wouldn’t get the ball if they don’t pass it to me. It was easy for me to step up,” Henthorne said.

Leetonia’s Allison Francosky had a team-high 14 points and teammate McKendra Cole added 13. Kayla Kaminsky tacked on nine points for the Bears (7-8, 3-7 EOAC).

Next, Lisbon will host Southern on Monday. Leetonia visits Valley Christian on Monday.

Anyone with interest in donating to the Melina Michelle Edenfield Foundation, visit www.mmefoundationjoy.org.

Game notes

¯ Henthorne scored all of the Blue Devils’ 14 points in the first half.

¯ Lisbon has won three straight games.

¯ The Bears have lost five of their last seven contests.

¯ The Bears and Blue Devils wore jerseys that read, “We fight cancer” on the front. They also had cancer awareness ribbons embroidered on the side of their shorts. Leetonia’s jersey lettering was in purple and Lisbon’s was in pink.

The jerseys will make a few more appearances as today’s Columbiana at Lisbon and Monday’s United at Columbiana girls games will continue the awareness and funding efforts for local families battling cancer.

¯ There was no JV game on Thursday.

LEETONIA: 7-10-12-11–40

LISBON: 5- 9-12-15–41

LEETONIA SCORING: Allison Francosky 7 0-0 14, Kayla Kaminsky 3 0-0 9, McKendra Cole 6 1-2 13, Ella Gregorino 1 1-1 3, Alyanna Douglas 0 1-2 1. TOTALS: 17, 3-5: 40

LISBON SCORING: Tabby Ketchum 1 0-0 2, Cami Freeland 4 0-0 10, Parker Henthorne 5 9-12 20, Serinity Stacey 2 2-4 7, Morgan Lively 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 13, 11-16: 41.

Three-point field goals: Leetonia 3 (Kaminsky 3), Lisbon 4 (Freeland 2, Stacey, Henthorne).

Rebounds: Lisbon 22 (Henthorne 12, Freeland 5, Stacey 5).

Assists: Lisbon (Stacey 6)

Steals: Freeland 4, Henthorne 3.

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