NEW WATERFORD, Ohio (WKBN) – Monday night at Crestview’s gymnasium was a night of outstanding performances, setting records, and saying good-bye. In the final game between these long time rivals for the foreseeable future due to new league affiliations, the Lisbon Blue Devils girls basketball team won in resounding fashion 71-41.
The Devils improve to 8-0 on the season, and improve to 5-0 in the road. The Rebels drop to 3-5, 0-1 in the ITCL Red Tier.
It was the Devils press that ultimately wore down the Rebels, but it wasn’t until about the 2-mintue mark of the first quarter before the Rebels started to wilt under the pressure. The Devils would close the first stanza on a 9-3 run to lead 23-16.
On the night, the Devils forced the Rebels into committing 32 turnovers, “Every game we come to press teams. We want to score early,” Devils senior center Mackenzie Mason said.
“I have a lot of kids. I have a good senior group and I have a good young group coming up and they can all play. So we want to make it a full-court game. Plus the game is more exciting than walking it up and down the floor,” Blue Devils coach Jamie Entrikin said.
Following a three-pointer by Hope Halas of the Rebels to start the second quarter, the Devils went on a 15-0 run to push their advantage to 38-19. They would go to the halftime intermission leading 40-24.
The Rebels never closed the gap to less than 18 points in the second half, with the Devils holding a commanding 61-30 lead at the end of three quarters. But even though the Rebels never seriously threaten in the second half, they still had reason to celebrate.
With 3:29 remaining in the third quarter, senior Alexis Gates sank the second shot of a free throw to give 1,000 points in her career. She became the eighth Rebel girls basketball players to reach the milestone.
“I’m really happy for Alexis to get her 1,000th point,” Mason pointed out. “Crestview is always a good team to play, I love playing against them. It’s always an aggressive game.”
In fact, several of the Blue Devil players gave Alexis Gates hugs and took selfies with her following the contest in a showing of good sportsmanship and friendship.
“It feels pretty good,” Alexis commented. “I watched Ashley (Harrison) and Chelsea (Bowker) get their 1,000th. And ever since I was little this was a goal of mine. I’ve been in the gym since I was a week old, attending my dad’s practices.”
“The energy and the work ethic is probably what stands her out above the rest,” Rebels coach and father Rick Gates remarked. “This is all deserved, it’s to her credit for working hard for four years.”
“It’s a mixed bag of emotions,” Rick Gates admitted about being a father and coach. “You try to separate that, and a lot of times you over compensate and your tougher on your own kids in practice and in games. On the other hand, it has been super enjoyable to share (the experience).”
“It means a lot to me,” Alexis remarked about having shared the night with her father. “He works so hard not just for me, but for all the girls. He loves the sport just as much as I do, so we really bond over that.”
Alexis would lead the Rebels with 18 points on the night. Emily Ferris would add 9 to the Rebels scoring effort. Tanner Hoffer would come off the bench to lead the Rebels in rebounds with 5.
Karlee Pezzano took high scoring honors for the Devils with 15 points on the night while Mason added 14 and Autumn Oehlstrom scored 13. Mason led the Devils with 9 rebounds on the night. Most of those coming on the offensive end.
The Blue Devils will travel to Jackson-Milton Thursday night in a big game between two of the area’s most talented small schools. “They have probably one of the best teams in the area. It is going to be a measuring stick for us to find out if we are there yet, or if we have a lot of work to do. We’re excited about the challenge,” Entrikin said. “We’ll play as hard as we can and see what happens.”
The Rebels will host Lowellville also on Thursday night in an ITCL inter-division game.