At the top of the list: Bristol’s Belle Zirzow surpasses all-time scoring record

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes Bristol senior Belle Zirzow rises for a shot in the lane during the Panthers’ 60-50 win over McDonald on Dec. 4. Zirzow surpassed Alyssa Giesy's record of 1,333 points.

BRISTOLVILLE — Going into Bristol’s Jan. 15 game against Champion, Belle Zirzow knew she was close, but she didn’t realize just how close she actually was.

Zirzow was just three points away from breaking the school’s girls scoring record. So, prior to tip off, head coach John King and his coaching staff drew up a designed play to get Zirzow an open look on the team’s first offensive possession of the game.

The Panthers won the opening tip and Brooklyn Swiger dribbled the ball to the top of the key. Billie Miller and Jaylyn Mullenax each set a screen on the wing, and Swiger found Zirzow running off the screens from the corner to the wing.

Zirzow rose, fired and drained the three-pointer — becoming the Bristol girls program’s all-time leading scorer, passing Alyssa Giesy’s record of 1,333 points set back in 2009.

“We put it in before the game — although Belle had no idea what was going on,” King said. “It was an opportunity to see if she could get it real quick and achieve it and move on for the rest of the game.”

Zirzow said she didn’t realize what had happened until her teammates corralled around her in celebration and they came back to the bench.

“I was excited and just really surprised that I got it,” Zirzow said. “It made it even better that all my family was there and my teammates were all around me. The whole community was there and for all of them to be able to see it — it was just a really special moment.”

Given her family history, a basketball accomplishment like this seemed like destiny for Zirzow.

Her mother, Kelly, played and coached at Grand Valley High School in Orwell and played college basketball at West Liberty University in West Virginia, while her father also played high school basketball.

Zirzow’s own basketball journey began when she was young. She played in youth and rec leagues until sixth grade when she joined her first AAU team, Smash Elite, which she played for until last year. And of course, she’s played for Bristol since her freshman year.

“I was always in the gym with (my mom) when she was coaching,” Zirzow said. “(My parents) were always big on getting better and always focusing on something to get better. Ever since I came to Bristol, it’s just been nothing but family for me here and I really found myself as a basketball player when I came here because I was pushed more as a player and as a person.”

Like her mother, Zirzow is also now set to play college basketball. Zirzow signed her letter-of-intent to play for D’Youville University earlier this month on Jan. 3.

“It was a long process. I was always looking for a city-type school that was always about family and something that was close to Bristolville too,” Zirzow said. “(D’Youville) really matched everything that I wanted. I visited a few schools in Michigan and some southern schools, but D’Youville was definitely No. 1 for me once I visited it.”

However, before she heads off to Buffalo, the Panthers still have unfinished business. Led by Zirzow’s 24.5 points per game, the team is currently 12-3 with hopes of making a deep postseason run. The Panthers are currently alone atop the Northeastern conference and visit Fairport Harbor on Monday before hosting Chalker on Wednesday.


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