Defense does it

Howland tops Ravenna to earn district berth

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Dianna Oatridge Howland’s Mackenzie Maze dribbles the ball upcourt as Ravenna’s Jatia Caples guards her during Howland’s Division II sectional bracket final win Thursday night.

HOWLAND — Behind a tough defensive game, Howland defeated Ravenna, 61-37, in a Division II sectional bracket final Thursday night.

The victory sends the Tigers (17-6) to the district semifinal round Monday at Austintown Fitch where Howland will face Struthers.

Neither team could get much going in the first quarter Thursday, but Howland (17-6) took an early lead. The Tigers kept that lead as it led, 13-4, after one quarter. Ravenna was getting looks but couldn’t cash in many.

Howland used its defensive prowess in the second quarter to build a big lead before Ravenna tried to get back into the game. The Tigers led by as much as 18 before leading 31-15 at the half.

Mackenzie Maze had eight points to lead Howland at halftime while Avery Robinson had four to lead the Ravens.

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Dianna Oatridge Howland’s Ka’Rina Mallory penetrates to the hoop between Ravenna defenders Daijah Caples (left) and Lauren Calhoun (right) during Division II sectional bracket final action at Howland on Thursday night.

“We turned the ball over way too much. We turned the ball over like nine times in the first quarter and that hurt us,” Ravenna coach Sonny Tilden said. “Down 31-15 at half wasn’t bad but if we don’t have that many turnovers, it’s a much better game.”

Howland stole the ball 23 times while Ravenna got just 10 steals. That was a major factor in the game.

In the second half, Ravenna tried to get back into the ball game. The Ravens went down 18 again before they started a 7-0 run to get close. That caused a Howland timeout with about five minutes left in the third quarter.

Howland regrouped and got the lead back up to 18 with about three minutes left in the quarter. Howland led 40-25 after three quarters.

“We missed a lot of easy shots and our defense was OK. We always stress how important the first two minutes of the third quarter are, especially with a lead,” Howland coach John Diehl said. “The girls regrouped nice. I think they (Ravenna) went on like a 4-0 run, maybe more.”

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Dianna Oatridge Howland’s Alex Ochman and Ravenna’s Avery Robinson reach for a rebound during Howland’s win Thursday night.

Howland dominated the fourth quarter en route to the win as the Tigers started the quarter on a 10-2 run which made Ravenna take a timeout with 4:39 left in the game.

“We knew that she (Lauren Calhoun) was their key player and that she was their best scorer,” Howland forward Alex Ochman said. “We knew that they like to move the ball a lot but they were a little sloppy so it was steal city for us.”

Calhoun finished with nine points but did foul out. Ochman finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, five steals and four assists.

Gabby Hartzell led the Tigers with 14 points. Howland outrebounded Ravenna, 29-23.