Jan. 28—CONNEAUT — The Conneaut Spartans stepped up the intensity on defense in the fourth quarter to regain control and pull away for a 55-48 win Saturday over the Jefferson Falcons in Chagrin Valley Conference Lake Division girls basketball action.
Junior Bella Fix scored a career-high 33 points for the Spartans. She also muscled her way to the free-throw line for 24 attempts and she converted 13 of them, and grabbed 14 rebounds.
"We needed every bit of them," Conneaut coach Jayson Aponte said about Fix's career-high in scoring. "That just shows how she's bought into our system that we put in."
The Spartans improved to 8-9 on the season and 6-7 in the CVC. The win was the fourth in a row for Conneaut, which avenged a 39-21 loss to Jefferson earlier this season. The Falcons dropped to 8-8 and 4-6 in the CVC.
"It feels really good because the first time we played against them we lost," Fix said. "So it feels good to come back and get that W."
Conneaut took control of the game early and held a 16-9 lead after the first quarter. The Spartans led 26-20 at halftime.
After Conneaut took a 28-20 lead, the Falcons went on a 13-3 run to grab its first lead at 33-31 when junior Tatum Bordeaux nailed a 3-pointer with 3:42 remaining in the third quarter.
However, Fix and Kayla Farley combined for three free throws to regain the advantage at 34-33 with 43 seconds left in the quarter and the Spartans would not relinquish the lead. Farley added 12 rebounds and a team-high six assists.
Aponte was proud of his team and pleased they kept their composure after giving up the lead by stepping up the defense to regain control and put the game away.
Junior Addie Kennedy scored 10 points, including three 3-pointers for the Spartans.
Kennedy hit a big 3-pointer with 3:30 remaining in the game to push the lead to 45-35, stopping some of the momentum the Falcons had put together.
"It was big for her, we love Addie and the work she puts in and she's there every day before practice putting the work in and it's good to see her come up big for us," Aponte said.
He said the Spartans want to play an inside-out style where they look to get the ball inside to the post players — Fix and Farley. If the post players aren't able to score then they want to kick the ball outside to the perimeter for a 3-pointer.
Conneaut shot 15-for-45 (33.33%) from the field and made three 3-pointers while Jefferson made 18 of 60 shots (30%) and converted four 3-pointers.
The Spartans shot 22-for-36 (61.11%) from the free-throw line and the Falcons made 8 of 14 (57.14%) shots from the charity stripe. Conneaut outrebounded Jefferson 35-24.
Aponte said his team talked at halftime about improving its rebounding in the second half.
"In the first half, we weren't rebounding that well, we were getting a lot of hoping your buddy gets the rebound," he said. "In the second half, we were like 'Hey you be the one that gets the rebound.'"
Senior forward Mia Contenza led the Falcons with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Bordeaux added eight points.
"Our effort wasn't there, I'll be honest," said Falcons coach T.J. Furman. "We just did not play the way we play basketball. You have to give them credit. Conneaut played hard. They were physical and they got on all of the loose balls and they wanted it more."
Both teams are scheduled to play home games on Wednesday.
Jefferson goes against Madison, while Conneaut takes on Geneva.