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Thursday, 10 January 2013 08:58

Redskins rally for win over Beachwood

BEACHWOOD, Ohio -- The drive from Beachwood to Cuyahoga Heights isn't very far, but don't be surprised if Jenna Stegmaier slept the whole way Wednesday night.

The sophomore did it all for the Redskins in a Chagrin Valley Conference Metro Division showdown with host Beachwood, scoring 30 points to lead Cuyahoga Heights to a 50-43 victory over the Bison, who were undefeated and ranked sixth in the first Associated Press state poll, released Tuesday.

"Stegmaier beat us," Beachwood coach Mike Coreno said. "The bottom line is that their marquee player beat us."

Not only did Stegmaier lead all players with 30 points, but she also guarded Beachwood's leading scorer, Mikah Aldridge, and brought the ball up the court on offense -- all while never leaving the game.

"I'm a little tired," Stegmaier said with a smile afterward. "It's tiring on defense trying to keep one of the best scorers in the conference in front of you and then turning around and bringing the ball up the court and creating offense."

The game started slowly for Stegmaier and the Redskins (10-2, 5-0 CVC). Several close shots failed to go down in the first quarter while Beachwood jumped to a 12-3 lead. But the visitors -- led by their star -- never gave up, and they stuck with the program.

"She's really mentally tough," Cuyahoga Heights coach Al Martin said of Stegmaier. "There are times when she doesn't complete some plays that she thinks she should and she gets down on herself, but she just keeps going."

The same could be said for the entire team, which found itself down, 19-8, in the middle of the second quarter. But for the next four minutes, the Redskins held Beachwood scoreless while scoring the final 13 points of the period to take a halftime lead of 21-19. The lead was 38-29 after three periods, and early in the fourth, it was 41-29.

"We're not a good starting team," Stegmaier said. "We always play much better in the second quarter. The first quarter is just not us."

The game was a matchup of styles, pitting Martin's precise patterns and discipline that resulted in 18 layups and 14 made free throws against the athleticism and creativity of Coreno and Beachwood. The difference? Easy, according to Coreno.

"We just stopped playing defense -- stood straight up and stopped defending," he said. "We took the two middle quarters off. They just buried us in the two middle quarters."

No other Cuyahoga Heights player reached double figures, as Lauren Goetz added nine points and Elizabeth Spence had seven. Aldridge led the Bison with 22 points, followed by Terrina Robinson with 14 and Aneisha Hardin with seven as Beachwood had only three players score.

Joe Magill is a freelance writer in Auburn Township.