Stow girls basketball routs Shaker, smashed by Solon

by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor Published:

The regular season ended for Stow-Munore Falls last week with very different games.

On. Feb. 11, Stow played one of its best all-around games of the season, smashing Shaker Heights 61-30 on the road.

Stow returned home for the Senior Night Feb. 13 in the regular-season finale, hoping to send seniors Abbie Lawson, Heather Graehling and Ally Iwanski off with a win.

The Comets had other ideas.

Solon erupted for a 19-2 second quarter, blowing open a close game. Solon cruised to a 64-42 win.

Stow finished the season at 15-7, 4-6 in the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division.

It was a frustrating loss for Stow, but not because on any lack of effort on the Bulldogs' part.

As Stow coach Bob Podges noted, the frustration was simple: In the first half, Solon stars Kristen Confroy and Martha Thompson simply could not miss.

"They are a very talented team," Podges said. "We had hands in the faces of Confroy and Thompson and they were just knocking down threes. I thought we were a little too concerned with not letting them drive the lane, but sometimes, with a team like that, it doesn't matter.

"It's difficult to go out and pressure them because their so athletic," Podges said. "You have to play solid interior defense and hope you catch them on a night where they're not hitting threes. Tonight was not that night."

Early on, it seemed the Bulldogs would be able to hang with Solon,

The Bulldogs were able to break Solon's full-court press a few times, leading to layups by Lawson and Baer.

Confroy hit a trio of shots, in a sign of things to come, but the Bulldogs matched Solon's intensity and trailed only 16-15 after one quarter.

That's when the bombs started falling.

Solon opened the second quarter on a 17-0 run, which included two three-pointers each from Thompson and Confroy,

Thompson, an Xavier recruit, also helped close down the lane, along with Solon forward Alexis Gray. The Bulldogs had numerous shots either blocked or altered around the rim.

A layup by freshman Jessica Stout with 2:40 left in the half proved to be Stow's only points in the quarter, giving Solon a 35-17 lead at the half.

Confroy matched the Bulldogs output herself, as she had 17 points at half-time on her way to a 26-point night.

Solon kept its foot on the gas in the third quarter, using a trapping defense to frustrate Stow's offense. Meanwhile, Confroy, Gray and Thompson kept scoring, pushing the lead to 56-28 after three quarters.

Solon coach Trish Kruse emptied her bench early in the fourth quarter, allowing Stow to cut into the lead a bit.

Forward Maddie Baer scored eight of her team-high 14 points in the fourth quarter. She was the lone Bulldog in double figures.

In addition to Confroy's big night, Thompson added 17 points and Gray had 10 points.

In the win over Shaker, Stow reversed a trend of slow starts in recent games. The Bulldogs opened a 17-6 lead after one quarter and led 31-11 at the half.

Stow's performance was all the more impressive considering Lawson did not play in the game due to a sprained ankle.

"Shaker had major problems dealing with our pressure," Podges said. "We played very well."

Baer led the Bulldogs with 19 points, while forward Danielle Tiller added 10, guard Sam Shaver had nine and Stout had eight.

Stow will open the postseason as the No. 4 seed in the Division I district tournament at Akron Ellet High School.

The Bulldogs will play the winner of the Walsh Jesuit-Kent Roosevelt game Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. at Ellet.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

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