Clippers win defensive battle over the Blue Jays

Clippers win battle between top EOAC and MVAC teams

Columbiana topped Jackson-Milton 36-23 Thursday night in girls' high school action.

COLUMBIANA, OHIO (WKBN) – Saying that a game was a slugfest is usually reserved for a contest on the gridiron, but Thursday night at Columbiana’s gym, that description would fit the battle between the Jackson-Milton Blue Jays and the Columbiana Clippers girls basketball teams. The Clippers outlasted the Blue Jays 36-23 to improve to 20-1 on the season, while the Blue Jays fall to 18-2.

The 23 points scored by the Blue Jays was a season-low, and also saw their standout player Michaelina Terranova go down with an injury early in the fourth quarter. As she attempted to steal the ball, she and a Clipper player fell to the floor with her receiving a knee in her back.

“We worked on it all week,” Clippers head coach Ron Moschella remarked about the Clippers defense. “We analyzed what she (Terranova) does and we tried to give her a little room to take a shot. It’s unfortunate that she got hurt. I think that meant a lot to their team.”

“Jackson-Milton is a good team,” Moschella continued. “But I’m not taking anything away from them. They’re a little hurt, they have some injuries that is causing a little slack toward the end of the season. Injuries can kill you.”

“We believe defense creates offense,” Clippers junior forward Kennedy Fullum remarked. “So we really focus on our defense most of the time in practice. We really work perfecting all our defenses before we work on offense.”

The contest was nip and tuck for the first 13 minutes with the Jays leading 9-8 at the end of the first quarter courtesy of a steal and layup by Terranova with just 34-seconds remaining in the frame. The Clippers started to pull away in the second stanza as sophomore guard Kayla Muslovski and Fullum scored late in the period to give the Clippers a 22-13 lead at intermission.

“We couldn’t get the ball to fall in the first half at all,” Blue Jays coach Pat Keney explained. “They were up there, they just wouldn’t fall. And then we just kind of got out of synch on things from pressing us and doing the little things they needed to do.”

The Clippers would continue to pull away in the third frame as Muslovski scored a basket to give them a 13-point, 28-15 lead at the 2:50 mark. The Clippers would hold a 30-19 lead at the end of the quarter.

Neither team could get any traction in the fourth quarter as the Clippers bleed the clock with a four corners passing game. When Terranova went down at the 5:03 mark of the quarter the Jays were trailing by 13 at 32-19. The two teams would combine for only 8-points the final five minutes of the game.

“At the end, we played really, really smart,” Moschella praised his team. “We weren’t going to shoot a three. We were going to go to the glass and go to score. So we did some of those things really well.”

On the night, the Blue Jays would not have a player reach double-figures in scoring. Terranova and Emily Williams each scored 6 points to pace them. With the 6 points, Terranova tied Tonya Treharne for the school record of 1,299 career points.

“The last five games have been really tough on us,” Keney admitted. “I have a lot of injuries. I didn’t have people to go in to give people breaks like we usually do.”

The Clippers were led in scoring by Muslovski with 13 points. Marissa McDonough led them in rebounds with 5, while a trio of Clippers grabbed 4 as Tessa Liggett, Fullum, and Alexis Cross all shared the honor.

“I’m really proud of Muslovski handling the ball. Cross playing great defense. Fullum being strong in rebounding underneath. Liggett playing hard and (Taylor) Hall playing hard. Hall weights about a buck ten, but she puts herself in there, and gets killed. But she made some good things happen. McDonough, when she was in there for that quarter I think she got five rebounds and I was really happy with that,” Moschella summarized.

“We knew that they were a good ball team and that they were one of our biggest competitions this year and we just kind of focused on playing our game and just getting the win,” Clippers senior junior forward Kennedy Fullum remarked.”


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