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Lordstown thumps Heartland to advance

LORDSTOWN — The Lordstown Red Devils earned a home tournament game giving their six seniors one last time to play on the court on which they grew up. Kellee Applegate, Kaylynn Higinbotham, Cadence Lickwar, Alexis Phillips, Jess Wilk and Alexis Weekley didn’t disappoint the hometown fans as they dominated Heartland Christian, 57-31, Wednesday evening in a Division IV sectional first round game.

The Devils narrowly defeated the Lions, 38-35, Feb 8 in Columbiana. This time, Lordstown was better prepared and unwilling to have its season end at home.

“They gave us a good game in the regular season,” Lordstown coach Dave Smith said. “We switched our defense up a little bit. We wanted to take Sydney Ogden out of the game. She scored 21 on us the first time.

“She’s a very good player. I’m happy we actually came ready to play, and knocked down some shots.”

Applegate buried a jumper, then Wilk canned a trey, and the Devils were in business. Weekley made a heads-up play as time was ticking down on the first quarter. She picked up a loose ball in the center of the lane, and tossed it at the hoop as the buzzer sounded. That basket gave Lordstown a 12-2 lead.

“Last time we played them, we only won by three,” Weekley said. “We were in the locker room, taking pictures. Coach came in and yelled at us saying we weren’t ready to play. We kind of showed him we were ready to play.

“We knew it was going to be our last home game. It was sad. We just wanted it. We didn’t want it to be our last game.”

Lickwar stole the inbound and fed it to Phillips who finished. More good ball movement saw Wilk find sophomore Ava Spano. Spano (12 points) delivered and Lordstown was up big. Wilk swished a couple of corner 3s to give Lordstown a 30-9 halftime advantage. A lethal left-handed shooter, Wilk finished with four 3’s and 12 points on the night.

“It was sad to play my final home game, but it was nice to end it with a 26 point win,” Wilk said. ” I made some shots that really helped in the first half. I got hot from the corner. The next game will be tough, but coach has high expectations of us.”

The leadership of Weekley is ever present. Her aggression, defense, and rebounding can fill up a stat sheet. She scored seven of her game-high 16 points in the third and Lordstown held a 45-16 lead heading to the fourth.

Lordstown emptied the bench, and the Lions played a solid final quarter. Ogden led Heartland with 12 points.

“Ultimately, their defense was really good on our key players tonight,” Heartland coach Jennah Honeycutt said. “Coach Smith did a great job of making sure he shut down those girls.”

Lordstown moves on to play senior standout Bailey Drapola and the Brookfield Warriors Saturday at 1 p.m. in Brookfield.

“We’re going to have to try to shut down Bailey, and do our thing against Brookfield,” Weekley said.

“I know Bailey is a big part of their offense,” Smith said. “We look forward to trying to stop her, and the rest of the team, and try to get the win.”

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