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The Suburbanite
  • LCCS coach: ‘Little things’ lead to loss at Barberton

  • “It’s the little things that kill.”

    Gavin Rossdale sang those words on Bush’s 1994 hit single “The Little Things,” but the same sentence rang true for the Lake Center Christian Tigers in a 51-35 road defeat to the Barberton Magics.

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  • “It’s the little things that kill.”
    Gavin Rossdale sang those words on Bush’s 1994 hit single “The Little Things,” but the same sentence rang true for the Lake Center Christian Tigers in a 51-35 road defeat to the Barberton Magics.
    A game that ended with a 16-point margin never felt like a blowout and saw the Tigers (2-18) within single digits into the fourth quarter despite the host Magics’ best efforts to pull away.
    The Tigers’ short-term shortcomings in key areas of the game — boxing out, protecting the ball against pressure and finishing around the basket — allowed Barberton to slowly gain separation and emerge victorious on Senior Night.
    “What I told the girls is, it’s a 16-point game, but it’s a bunch of little things,” LCCS coach Paul Zacour said. “We didn’t box out, missed an assignment on defense, a turnover or missing a wide-open layup. Those things add up. It’s a 16-point game, four points a quarter, but you clean up your box out, that’s two points right there. You don’t miss your assignment in transition, that’s two points right there.”
    As has become a pattern this season, LCCS was sluggish at the outset. The game began in unusual fashion, as the Magics allowed LCCS to win the opening tip and score a basket, with LCCS in turn allowing Barberton senior Lindsey Berlin to receive a pass near the basket and score an uncontested layup.
    Berlin, sporting a bulky knee brace because of a season-ending injury, then checked out of the game after concluding her career with one final basket.
    From there, the Magics (5-16) cashed in on sporadic LCCS turnovers and the inside-outside combination of Katie Wright and Ashlee Ford. The duo combined for 13 first-half points and with LCCS struggling to hold onto the ball against full-court pressure and convert chances near the basket, the hosts posted a 15-6 margin at the end of the first quarter.
    Undeterred, the Tigers battled back and narrowed the margin to five, 20-15, late in the half. With a balanced scoring attack led by freshman guard Brianna Miller, sophomore forward Lauren Penvose and junior forward Emily Hofer, LCCS appeared to be on the verge of climbing back into the game.
    Unfortunately for LCCS, a key defensive lapse in the closing seconds of the half allowed Barberton freshman guard Andrea Sabol to get a clear look from the left wing and drain a 3-pointer with less than four seconds left, putting the Magics ahead 25-16 at intermission.
    Once again, the Tigers showed their resiliency, scoring the first four points of the second half as Miller (10 points, five rebounds) and senior guard Olivia Myers each tallied field goals to bring their team within five points.
    Page 2 of 2 - “That’s what they’ve done and I’ve been proud of them all year,” Zacour said. “All the adversity we’ve been through, we have battled, pretty much every game we’ve battled and competed. It’s just about consistency and competing for all 32 (minutes).”
    But just as they had prior to the half, the Magics responded. With LCCS having difficulty tracking shooters on the perimeter, Barberton relied on high dribble handoffs to create defensive confusion and used the chaos to create open 3-pointers and lanes to drive.
    With senior guard Harley Berlesky (10 points) knocking down her only two triples of the night during the stretch, the Magics closed the quarter on a 13-4 run to lead 38-24.
    LCCS refused to go quietly, elbowing its way within eight points in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. In the end, the Division IV Tigers found their Division I opponent too much to overcome. Barberton’s seniors closed their home careers with one final win and LCCS took another tough loss in a season full of injuries and setbacks.
    Penvose tied Miller for team-high scoring honors with 10 points and added 10 rebounds for a double-double. Hofer played one of her best all-around games of the season with eight points, six rebounds and four steals. Ford led the Magics with 11 points.
    With two games left before beginning sectional tournament play, the Tigers still have learning to do.
    “I’m just looking for more improvement,” Zacour said of the progress the Tigers have made this season. “We’ve made huge strides since the beginning of the year. It’s tough to get them to see the progress, but we have been able to show them a few video clips and tell them, ‘This is you in the first or second game and this is you in Game 18 or 19, look at the difference,’ because when you don’t see yourself every day, it’s tough to realize.”