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Finding its footing

Newton Falls starting to come together after Trumbull shutdown

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Shelby Fowler of Newton Falls, right, prepares to put up a shot during the first half of Monday’s game. Fowler finished with eight points in the Tigers’ win over Girard.

GIRARD — High school basketball games played at noon on a Monday aren’t exactly common, but when teams are fighting to get 22 games in, they’ll take any opportunity to hit the court that they can.

Newton Falls and Girard met up Monday, with the Tigers coming out on top 53-30 in the lunch-time tilt. After an 0-2 start, Newton Falls is starting to find its groove.

“We’re starting to get our feet underneath us,” Tigers coach Mark Baker said. “We’re starting to shoot the basketball a little bit better. All in all, I gotta love the fight. I loved the fight from both teams. I mean neither one of us, neither team, has probably been able to practice more than two or three times as of late. So it was a great effort out of both groups.”

What has helped Newton Falls is a well-developed core, led by five seniors that have helped the team adjust to everything the season has thrown at them — on the court and off it.

“Fortunately for me, with the kids that I have, I’ve got five seniors right now and they’re playing really well together,” Baker said. “They know the routine, they know what they’re supposed to do and when they’re supposed to do it. I think they’re leading the younger ones in the right direction as well. They’ve really been an extension of me in multiple facets of the game.”

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Girard’s Jalaya Brown goes up for a layup during the third quarter of Monday’s game as Madison Haidet of Newton Falls defends.

That experience is great to have, even for little things like playing on a Monday morning or handling the rigors of playing four games in a week.

“We are certainly creatures of habit and we’re used to playing probably on Saturday mornings or maybe even a Friday, but certainly it’s unusual to play a game on a Monday morning,” Baker said. “I think my group had a little bit of fatigue. We played four games last week and played some really good, hard basketball last night. I think my group is we’re starting to get in a good direction.

Newton Falls had control of the game early, outscorcing Girard 18-7 in the first quarter. Offense has been an issue thus far for the Indians, who have been hit hard in regards to practice time and are still catching their bearings after the Trumbull County shutdown.

“The way things are now, it’s like you get one day to prepare, you’re playing three games a week, so it’s kind of tough,” Girard coach Andrew Saxon said. “The girls came back a little bit out of shape and we’ve got to get them back into shape and here we go playing again. It’s been difficult, but everyone is in the same situation in Trumbull County, so we do the best we can.”

Most of Girard’s offense came from two players, junior Seyhan Dede and sophomore Abbie Rafferty, who each had six points.

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Shelby Fowler of Newton Falls puts a shot up during the first half of Monday’s game. Fowler finished with eight points.

On the other side of the scorebook, Newton Falls was led by Madison Haidet, who scored 20 points and Bree Hutson who scored 11. The Tigers also outshot Girard from deep, making eight 3-pointers while the Indians did not connect from 3-point land.

Girard (3-4) looks to get back to .500 against Struthers on Thursday. The Indians beat the Wildcats 47-41 earlier in the season.

The Tigers were originally slated to take on Campbell today, but the game was canceled. Newton Falls’ next contest is now against Warren G. Harding on Thursday.

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