Fitch’s Sefcik scores 1,000th point in victory over Howland

HOWLAND – Austintown Fitch’s Megan Sefcik may not like the spotlight thrown on her, but her teammates wouldn’t let her shy away on Thursday night.

When the junior guard recorded her 1,000th career point with 7:14 remaining in the second quarter in the Falcons’ 61-48 win over Howland, the bench and junior varsity players filled the Howland High School gymnasium with shouts of congratulations.

“I’ve been playing with Megan for a really long time,” said teammate Sarah Melfe, who assisted the bucket for Sefcik’s 1,000th point. “I know she deserves it, and I know she’s the last person to ever want that attention. She’s amazing and she definitely deserved it tonight.”

Fitch coach Stacie Cepin echoed Melfe’s sentiment following the game, saying that the 5-foot-9 junior cares more for her teammate’s reactions than her reaching the milestone.

“She’ll cherish this night because of her teammates,” Cepin said. “She could care less about (scoring). I know she’s going to go out there and get her points, but she cherishes her teammates and this time with them.”

One of her teammates, Melfe, almost stole the show from Sefcik.

Howland (10-7, 4-5 All-American Conference, American Division) deployed a box-and-one against the Falcons (15-4, 6-2) in an attempt to slow down Sefcik.

It worked for one quarter before Melfe made the Tigers pay for focusing on one player. The junior forward hit two 3-pointers in the second quarter and terrorized the 2-2 zone for 20 points on a 58.3-percent shooting performance.

Howland coach John Diehl said that he had to respect Sefcik’s abilities and couldn’t come out of the defense, needing to double team Sefcik or risk her shredding the defense. He knew the risk that was involved with this defense.

“I knew Melfe could shoot,” Howland coach John Diehl said. “I’ve watched (the Falcons) play twice this year, and we’ve played them once already. For us to win, she had to have a bad night shooting, and she didn’t.

“When you go box-and-one, you have to leave some people open, and we happened to leave her open tonight.”

The game was close through three quarters, with the Falcons taking a four-point lead into the fourth, but things went downhill quickly for the Tigers.

Fitch scored the first seven points in the final quarter and held Howland to just five points – all of which came between the 5:10 and 3:33 marks of the quarter – to seal the win. The Tigers posted a 20-percent mark from the field in the final quarter.

Even Gabby Cvengros, who paced Howland with 17 points, seemed to have nothing left for the final eight minutes, not scoring a single point. Shots she had hit earlier in the game wouldn’t fall for the junior forward.

“We ran out of gas,” Diehl said. “I consider (Fitch) the second-best team in the valley, and we put three good quarters against them. All we have to do now is learn to play the fourth quarter, and we can give some of these good teams a game.”

Back to Sefcik, she acknowledged the magnitude of reaching 1,000 points but was quick to give her teammates the credit for her achievement.

“It was a great accomplishment, but every single one of those points, I dedicate to my teammates,” Sefcik said. “I couldn’t have done it without them. They found me open when I had the shot.”