Top-seeded underdog

Flashes ignore status as favorite

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Champion’s Megan Turner (33) puts up a shot Saturday in the Golden Flashes’ 61-22 triumph over Middlefield Cardinal in a Division III sectional bracket final at Champion. The Golden Flashes advance to the district semifinal round next week at Ravenna.

CHAMPION — In a Division III sectional bracket final on Saturday, the top-seeded Champion Golden Flashes defeated eighth-seeded Cardinal, 61-22, in dominating fashion.

Champion (20-3) quickly got out to a good offensive start, an 8-2 start just a few minutes into the game which resulted in a Cardinal (12-12) timeout.

“We never look at it as we are the number one. I always go in thinking we are the underdog because you have to prepare that way,” Champion coach Michael Cole said. “You never know when you could get into a dogfight.”

Champion led Cardinal after one quarter, 13-4. Megan Turner had seven of her game-high 20 points in the quarter for Champion.

Champion continued to add to its lead in the second quarter as it outscored the Huskies, 23-9. Emma Gumont and Allison Smith combined for 13 in the quarter to pace the Flashes to a 36-13 halftime advantage.

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Champion's Abby White lines up a 3-point attempt as Adriana Naples of Cardinal moves to defend and Champion's Emma Gumont (35) watches.

“They present a ton of matchup problems. They have size. They have four players that average double figures,” Cardinal coach Luke Kruse said. “They are a tough, physical matchup for a team like us. We made a run at them defensively in the second quarter but we couldn’t convert on the other end.”

Turner led the Flashes with 12 first-half points while Brittni Lawrence had five for the Huskies. She finished with a team-high seven points and four rebounds.

“Watching the film, they were a really good rebounding team. If we aren’t getting rebounds, we’re giving second-chance opportunities and we can’t run like we do,” Cole said. “Camille Cummins has a 20-point, 18-rebound game last game so we focused a lot on her. If you can’t rebound, you can’t run.”

In the second half, it didn’t get any better for the Huskies, as they were outscored 25-9 in the half.

Champion began the second half on a 14-5 run as Turner had eight of her 20 points in the quarter. Beside her scoring, Turner finished with 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals.

“We came into this game knowing that we had to get the job done. We practiced really hard this week, harder than normal actually. We knew we couldn’t take this team lightly,” Turner said. “Coach never lets us sit back on a team. With him chirping at us about what to do, we are always used to getting pushed and playing to the best of our abilities.”

Champion now moves on to face Waterloo in a district semifinal on Wednesday at Ravenna High School at 5 p.m.