ORWELL - The Northeastern Athletic Conference knows about Lordstown's Sarah Cash. And if they don't - they will find out this season.
The 6-foot-2 junior had another stellar performance on Thursday night for the Red Devils, scoring 23 points and grabbing 16 rebounds to lead Lordstown to a 52-40 victory over Grand Valley.
This kind of performance is nothing new for Cash, as she is six games into her junior season and she has 963 career points. In this game, her presence on the inside was too much for GV (4-1, 1-1), as she scored all nine of her baskets from in close. She added 5 of 6 free throws.
"She's a great player," GV coach Kim Triskett said. "You can't take anything away from her. She did a great job and we had a hard time containing her."
"She's a big contributor," Lordstown coach Dave Smith said,. "She sees the floor well and handles the ball. A 6-2 girl that handles the ball is a big help. Very smart girl. She's one girl that really loves the game. She'd play all the time if she could."
The Red Devils (6-0, 3-0) ran off the final eight points of the first quarter to break an 8-all tie, and pushed the lead as high as 28-14. The Mustangs got within 28-18 by halftime, and then used the fullcourt press to help cut it all the way down to 32-30 when Jessica Vormelker found Kelly Preske for a baseline shot less than four minutes into the third period.
However, Cash sank four foul shots to push it to 36-30. Though the Mustangs stayed in the contest, they never again got closer than four points.
With a 40-33 advantage at the start of the fourth quarter, Lordstown went into what was described by Smith as a patient offense, and it worked. After Chris Futty scored a basket, two layups by Cash and one by Mary Bennett made it 46-35.
"They actually played really well, coming out in the third quarter and (pressing), and they played real smart, took care of the ball and they made some good shots," Smith said. "A very good disciplined team. I'm kind of glad we only play them once."
The Mustangs turned the ball over 14 times in the first half as compared to seven for the Red Devils, but cut that margin to 21-17 by the final buzzer.
Cash and Bennett led the Red Devils to a huge 48-29 advantage on the glass. Partially because of that, they got off 21 more shots from the floor (61-40), converting six (21-15). The Mustangs did block 10 as compared to none for Lordstown, but obviously the Red Devils got off enough attempts.
"We usually emphasize a lot on (boxing) out," Smith said. "They do a good job of getting to the offensive glass, so we emphasized making sure we keep them off the offensive boards."
Marlena Liming had 10 points and four steals, and Ally Hajnasy five assists for Lordstown. Alexis Cassesa blocked two shots for Grand Valley.