AUSTINTOWN OH- The Austintown Fitch Falcons girls basketball team has been on a roll in recent weeks! Winners in four of their last five contests, including two wins against All-American Conference (AAC) teams in Howland and Warren Harding. Fitch was playing with a ton of momentum leading into Wednesday night where they would look to defend the nest against Greater Cleveland Conference representative, The Mentor Cardinals. A formidable opponent, Mentor drew even with an 8-8 record through their first 16 games prior to Wednesday. 

Out of the opening tip, Cardinals junior Mallory Chicone went down and nailed a three pointer to take an initial lead for Mentor. However, Fitch had immediate answers with Jocelyn Jourdan and Destanie McCullough hitting back-to-back buckets to claim the lead for The Falcons. Austintown would promptly step on the gas pedal after taking their first lead, after Mentor took the opening 3-0 lead, Fitch would go on a 27-3 run, flipping the game on its head. Falcons senior Zayda Creque was hitting on all cylinders from distance, nailing down four first half threes and scoring 14 points through the opening 16 minutes. Cardinals sophomore Hailey Watson started establishing her shot and helped cut the Mentor deficit down to 14, with Fitch leading 27-13 at the half. 

The Cardinals would limit the turnovers to start the third, promptly allowing their offense to get into rhythm and it quickly became The Nina Rodriguez show! As the Mentor freshman scored 11 of her team’s 20 points in the third quarter! Ayla Ray became “The Answer” for Fitch in the third, scoring 10 points herself in the quarter, and limiting the Mentor counter punch and preserving The Falcons lead 44-33 after three quarters. Rodriguez and Chicone were a scoring tandem for The Cardinals in the fourth, both finishing with double-digits in the scoring column on the night. But it was Fitch senior Zayda Creque who hit two more dagger threes in the fourth, giving her seven shots from distance on the night and 23 total points to help lead Austintown to the 58-51 victory over Mentor! Creque earned Player of The Game honors along with Fitch junior Destanie McCullough who was dishing the ball, effectively starting the Austintown offense while scoring 12 points of her own. 

Mentor (8-9) will go back in-conference, as they will hit the road to battle The Euclid Panthers (1-13) on Saturday, January 21st. Fitch (8-9)(2-3) will also be in action on Saturday, as they will be back in AAC action with a road trip to take on conference leader Canfield (14-1)(4-0) and will be on YSN! Interviews with Fitch Head Coach Natalie Lynn and Co-Players of The Game Zayda Creque and Destanie McCullough can be found below!


Scoring (Fitch)

Zayda Creque: 23 PTS. (Co-Player of The Game)

Destanie McCullough: 12 PTS. (Co-Player of The Game)

Ayla Ray: 12 PTS.

Rachel Spalding: 4 PTS.

Kylie Folkwein: 4 PTS.

Jocelyn Jourdan: 3 PTS.


Scoring (Mentor)

Nina Rodriguez: 16 PTS.

Hailey Watson: 13 PTS.

Mallory Chicone: 10 PTS.

Christine Katava: 5 PTS.

Kylie Maxwell: 4 PTS.

Lexi Berwald: 3 PTS.


Scoring by Quarter

Q1: Fitch 17 – 6 Mentor

Q2: Fitch 10 – 7 Mentor

Q3: Fitch 17 – 20 Mentor

Q4: Fitch 14 – 18 Mentor

Final: Fitch 58 – 51 Mentor

*Contributed By YSN’s Ty Bartell