Maplewood cruises past Lordstown in surprise rout

LORDSTOWN – Saturday night’s game between Maplewood and Lordstown looked like a good one on paper.

Each team was leading its respective division in the Northeastern Athletic Conference and was fine-tuning for the postseason tournament.

A tight, close game was not in the cards for the attendees at Lordstown High School as Maplewood led almost the entire game and rolled to a 63-29 victory.

“We played a great game tonight against a really good team,” said Maplewood coach Mark Yoder, whose team leads Pymatuning Valley by one game in the NAC’s Stars Division. “You can’t let up after that. That’s the big thing with teenage girls. They’re in there in the locker room right now celebrating this win, but tomorrow they’ve got to come back down to earth and start preparing for the next one.”

The Rockets (13-3, 8-1) earned the blowout win despite a subpar offensive game from junior center Brooke Dawson, who scored only five points before fouling out with 6:56 to play.

Stepping up in her place was Allison Bell. The 5-foot-7 senior guard led all players with 21 points, including 12 in the third quarter when Maplewood ended any hopes Lordstown (13-4, 6-3 NAC Stripes) had of getting back in the game.

“I think going into this we had a lot of intensity,” she said. “We came out trying to look for a win and all of us just worked together really good. We all had a good shooting night.

“I feel like I had to come in here and just play my game. Even though it was a hard team, I still had to come in and play my game. With Brooke fouling out, I felt like I did have to step up and lead the team a little bit. My teammates did a good job of finding me and I tried to find them as best as I could as well.”

“Allison’s been there for us all year,” Yoder said. “She’s one of our scorers. She works at her game extremely hard in the offseason. She puts in more time than anyone I know with her shot. She’s got a nice hoop out in her driveway that she’s constantly shooting at.”

Despite only scoring five points and having her night ending early, Yoder said Dawson still played well in other aspects of the game.

“Brooke didn’t really have that bad of a game,” he said. “Defensively, she played really, really good. She boxed out and rebounded well. She might not have had the normal amount of points that she usually has, but all the other parts of her game were done really well tonight.”

After falling behind 4-0 at the start, the Rockets completely took control of the game, going on a 16-0 run and never being threatened after that. Miranda Sloan scored five points during the outburst, including a three-point play. She finished with 12 points.

Lordstown never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.

“Got to give them a lot of credit, they hit some of their open shots,” Red Devils coach Dave Smith said. “The biggest difference was they hit some open shots and we couldn’t make it up.”

After Maplewood took a 32-18 halftime lead, Bell dominated the third quarter. She scored the first eight points for the Rockets for a 40-20 advantage, then she added the last four for her team and a 46-22 lead through three quarters.

Sarah Cash paced Lordstown with 13 points, with all but one of them coming in the first half.