AUSTINTOWN OH- In what was the final game of the basketball regular season, The Austintown-Fitch Falcons hosted The West Branch Warriors on Wednesday night for girls basketball night on the network. Both teams went into Wednesday with a 10-11 record and looking for a little momentum to take into the tournament. Game #22 swung heavily in-favor of the home team off the opening tip. With Austintown finding their shot from distance, a trio of Zayda Creque, Kylie Folkwein and Rachel Spalding knocked down shots from the arc.  On the other side, Livvie Showalter was establishing her shot early and contributed a number of early buckets for The Warriors, while girls like Mikalyn Fitts came off the bench and knocked down big shots to keep the offense afloat. However, the offensive flow was in rhythm for Fitch through the first eight minutes, as they held a 25-16 lead after one quarter of play.

Starting off the second quarter and West Branch started to settle in and find an optimal comfort level to operate their offense out of. With a ton of offense coming from Sophie Gregory, scoring 13 points in the second quarter alone! While simultaneously leading all scorers with 15 points in the first half. As Gregory got hot, The Warrior defense clamped up! Despite trailing by double digits at one point in the game, West Branch continued to battle all the way back until they took a lead, 33-31 at halftime. With The Warriors holding Fitch to just 6 points in the second quarter. 

The offensive drought continued into the second half for The Falcons, with Fitch calling on Creque along with Jocelyn Jourdan from distance in an effort to break Austintown out of their funk. Gregory continued to place West Branch on her back offensively, chipping in 8 of her team’s 11 points in the third quarter. Finishing at the rim effectively and efficiently with both hands, she left many in Austintown wondering “Is this girl ambidextrous?” 

Credit The Falcons, as they showed fight through four quarters of play, while fighting an uphill battle for the better part of three of those quarters. Getting others involved down the stretch, Fitch was looking to chip away the deficit; however, time would not be on their side. Pair that with a locked-in West Branch squad that had Hannah Egli taking cold-blooded three point shots down the stretch and it spelled goodnight for Austintown. The junior and YSU commit, Sophie Gregory, scored 8 more points in the fourth quarter as a part of a 31 point performance on the night! As a matter of fact, Gregory equaled the amount of points scored from the entire Fitch team (29) from quarter two onward! Her performance, paired with a great defensive adjustment from West Branch, led to a Warrior winner 62-54. 

Following the loss, The Falcons will have to focus up for the tournament following the conclusion of the regular season. As #22 Fitch (10-12) will head to #16 Boardman (13-9) on Saturday, February 11th, slated for a 1:00 p.m. tip-off. With the win, West Branch (11-11) will start their tournament run at home, hosting The Ravenna Ravens (3-16) on Wednesday, February 15th at 7:00 p.m. for the tip! Interviews with winning Head Coach Walt DeShields and Player of The Game Sophie Gregory can be found below! 


Scoring (West Branch)

Sophie Gregory: 31 PTS. (Player of The Game)

Livvie Showalter: 12 PTS.

Cami Campbell: 7 PTS.

Hannah Egli: 6 PTS.

Mikalyn Fitts: 4 PTS. 

Chloe Dennison: 2 PTS.

Scoring (Fitch)

Zayda Creque: 15 PTS.

Kylie Folkwein: 12 PTS.

Destanie McCullough: 8 PTS.

Rachel Spalding: 7 PTS.

Jocelyn Jourdan: 7 PTS.

Ayla Ray: 3 PTS.

Lannie Henning: 2 PTS. 


Scoring by Quarter

Q1: West Branch 16 – 25 Fitch

Q2: West Branch 17 – 6 Fitch

Q3: West Branch 11 – 8 Fitch

Q4: West Branch 18 – 15 Fitch

Final: West Branch 62 – 54 Fitch

*Contributed By YSN’s Ty Bartell