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Marlington girls basketball defeats Alliance, will share Eastern Buckeye Conference title

The Marlington girls basketball team took care of business Wednesday night.

The Dukes captured their third straight Eastern Buckeye Conference title with a 77-49 win over the Alliance Aviators on Senior Night in the Harry Fails Gymnasium.

Marlington's Elizabeth Mason, right, puts up a shot defended by Alliance's X'Zaryia Fannin during action at Alliance High School Wednesday night, February 1, 2023.
Marlington's Elizabeth Mason, right, puts up a shot defended by Alliance's X'Zaryia Fannin during action at Alliance High School Wednesday night, February 1, 2023.

Marlington (18-2, 9-1) will share the EBC title with Salem, which was a 43-29 winner over West Branch. Marlington and Salem split their season series.

Marlington will wrap up its regular season next week with road games at Howland and Perry before heading into tournament play at home on February 15 against Youngstown Chaney.

Alliance ends its regular season at 8-13 and 3-7 in the EBC. Alliance will also open tournament play February 15 at Struthers.

“I am excited and I know the girls are excited about winning the league,” said Marlington coach Mike Stadulis. “When you get three in a row that is pretty awesome.

Alliance's Jayla Callock (15) puts up a shot over Marlington defenders during action at Alliance High School Wednesday night, February 1, 2023.
Alliance's Jayla Callock (15) puts up a shot over Marlington defenders during action at Alliance High School Wednesday night, February 1, 2023.

“We have two tough regular season games then it will be tournament time.”

The Dukes took control from the start. Alliance scored first on a 3-pointer by junior Ella Smith. But from then on it was all Marlington.

They put together a 14-0 and finished the quarter with a 6-0 run to lead 26-10 after the first quarter. In the period the Dukes forced 11 Aviator turnovers.

“I thought offensively we were pretty tough,” Stadulis said. “We made a lot of shots and did a lot of other good things on offense. We also did some good things on defense.”

Stadulis wanted to get off to a quick start.

“That is something we wanted to make sure we did,” Stadulis said. “You don’t start so well and then you give them some hope. Then it gets tough, and we didn’t want that. We were able to jump on them early and keep it around 20 the rest of the way.”

Senior Elizabeth Mason led the Dukes with 24 points to go along with five assists and four rebounds.

Marlington's Allie Gill, right, is defended by Alliance's Payton Smith, left, during action at Alliance High School Wednesday night, February 1, 2023.
Marlington's Allie Gill, right, is defended by Alliance's Payton Smith, left, during action at Alliance High School Wednesday night, February 1, 2023.

Senior point guard Maria Warner also had a good-looking stat sheet with 17 points, including five 3-pointers, six steals and five assists.

“We had to come out strong and not give them any hope,” said Warner. “I think we did that pretty well. This is always a hard place to play. They are a good team and they have gotten so much better.”

Senior Lexi Miller and junior Chelsea Evanich were also in double figures for the Dukes. Miller finished with 14 points, two steals and three assists, while Evanich had 14 points, 11 rebounds and five steals.

Alliance battled from start to finish and coach Rod Smith was proud of that.

“We played hard and I’m proud of the girls,” Smith said. “But playing a team like Marlington you have to bring your ‘A’ game. If you don’t it will get out of hand in a hurry. We just couldn’t get into sync. We missed a lot of makeable shots and left some points out there. It was a tough night and playing against Marlington made it tougher."

But this has been a fun season for Smith and the Aviators.

Alliance's Payton Smith (22) passes the ball between Marlington defenders during action at Alliance High School Wednesday night, February 1, 2023.
Alliance's Payton Smith (22) passes the ball between Marlington defenders during action at Alliance High School Wednesday night, February 1, 2023.

“I am very proud of how the program is coming along and how the girls are buying into it,” Smith said. “From the culture of playing hard where the results turn into wins and losses. We are getting better every year. We are winning one more game than the previous year. We had a few games out there that I thought we could have had, but that is part of our growing."

Junior Jayla Callock led the Aviators with 11 points. Alliance did make seven 3-pointers in the game.

“This is always a tough place to play,” Stadulis said. “They came out and hit some big shots. Once they hit one, you know they are going to hit a couple more, and they did.”

This article originally appeared on The Alliance Review: Marlington girls basketball defeats Alliance Aviators