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Eagles out-muscle Cardinals in 50-31 win

Jan. 9—LINESVILLE — Conneaut used a physical brand of basketball to defeat Cochranton in a non-region game on Monday night.

The Eagles out-rebounded Cochranton by double digits and played tight defense in a 50-31 win at Conneaut Area Senior High School. It was a welcome sight for Conneaut head coach Christine Krankota because the team has dropped a couple games recently and dealt with a changing lineup.

"We've had some ups and downs over the last couple of weeks. We got hit with a rash of injuries, the stomach flu got passed around. We haven't had our full complement of players since the third game of the season, so we've been finding ourselves along the way," Krankota said. "Tonight you could see the cohesiveness we had at the beginning of the season. It was a big game not just in how we played and getting a win but we found a rhythm tonight that we were missing for a few weeks."

The game was tight early on. Cochranton sophomore Claire McCartney converted an and-one on a contested floater with 0.3 seconds left in the first quarter. Her made free throw cut into the deficit and gave Conneaut a 13-11 lead at the first break.

Conneaut opened the second quarter on a 13-2 run, but a couple tough baskets from the Cardinals made it an eight-point game at halftime.

In the second half, Conneaut steadily added to its lead. The Eagles led by 11 entering the final quarter and dominated the final stanza, outscoring Cochranton 10-2 over the final eight minutes.

Cochranton, a Class 2A school, competed with Conneaut, a Class 4A school, for much of the game. Eventually, though, the Eagles wore the Cards down and out-rebounded their way to a win. Cochranton head coach David Zamperini pointed to a lack of execution and toughness for the end result.

"We didn't execute tonight offensively, defensively. We didn't execute our game plan against their players. When that happens, you lose," Zamperini said. "Rebounding killed us. I talked about that last game, too. We didn't do a good job on our defensive assignments. We didn't box out, we watched balls drop in front of us. We need some toughness."

Cochranton was paced by Shelby McBryar with 10 points. Macie Williams and McCartney added six and five points, respectively.

The Cardinals are 6-6 overall and will host Cambridge Springs on Thursday for a Region 2 showdown.

Morgan Poff, despite only standing at 5-feet 6-inches tall, grabbed eight rebounds for the Eagles to go with eight points. Lainie Harrington led all scorers with 20 points and added six rebounds, four assists and four steals.

Hannah Brady and BreAnne Dendis each added nine points for Conneaut.

"Kaitlyn Crabb, Morgan Poff and Haylee Morini, our three smallest girls on the floor, crushed it offensively and defensively on the boards. They kept so many balls alive and they snagged some rebounds that would have been momentum killers for us had Cochranton got those and got second chance points," Krankota said. "Rebounding is something we focused on over our Christmas break. We had an extended period of time off over Christmas and we did a lot of layup drills and a lot of rebounding drills. We did a much better job of getting bodies on girls and forcing that issue tonight."

Conneaut is 6-3 overall and gained some momentum entering its Region 5 schedule. The Eagles are set to play at Meadville on Thursday.

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Cochranton (31)

McBryar 4 0-0 10, Williams 3 0-0 6, McCartney 2 1-3 5, Pfeiffer 1 0-0 2, Lyons 0 1-2 1, Shorts 1 0-0 2, Rodax 2 1-3 5.

Totals 13 3-8 31.

Conneaut (50)

Crabb 1 0-1 2, Morini 1 0-0 2, Harrington 9 0-0 20, Poff 2 4-4 8, Brady 4 1-2 9, Dendis 4 1-2 9.

Totals 21 6-9 50.

Cochranton;11;8;10;2;—;31

Conneaut;13;13;14;10;—;50

3-point goals: Cochranton — McBryar 2; Conneaut — Harrington 2.

Alex Topor can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at atopor@meadvilletribune.com.