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Bishop Rosecrans starts hot, finishes strong to eliminate Catholic Central girls, 48-37

SHOOTING — Catholic Central’s Isabella Oliver attempts a shot with Bishop Rosecrans’ Jenna McLaughlin guarding her during a Division IV sectional semifinal on Thursday. -Joe Catullo

STEUBENVILLE — Catholic Central’s girls basketball team picked a bad time to have an off shooting night.

The Crusaders shot just 17 percent from the floor in their Division IV sectional tournament opener against Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans and dropped a 48-37 verdict inside the Mickey Barber Gymnasium.

“Usually, we are a pretty good shooting team, but tonight our shots just weren’t falling,” Central coach Jess Looman said. “We started out cold and never really got it going on the offensive end. What hurts is we had plenty of good looks all night.

“Rosecrans was on, especially in the first half. I don’t think they missed many shots at all during the opening quarter. Shooting definitely made a difference in this game.”

The ninth-seeded Bishops (13-10) shot out to a 19-5 lead after the initial eight minutes. Senior guard Kailey Zemba paced the Rosecrans scoring outburst with 13 points. She drained three long balls during the quarter. Central, the seventh seed, had just one field goal.

Zemba and sophomore Jenna Carlisle each swished a 3-pointer in the second, and the Bishops were up 29-14 at the break.

Each team scored 10 points in the third, and Rosecrans took a 39-24 into the final frame. Central picked up the intensity on both ends of the floor and made a run, cutting the margin to eight twice. The Bishops, however, knocked five free throws to seal the deal.

“We got down early, and typically when we get down, the girls get down on themselves and stop playing hard,” Looman said. “That didn’t happen tonight. They kept fighting back.

“It seemed like every time we had a chance to cut into the Rosecrans lead, we’d either miss a shot or throw a bad pass. At the end, we had to foul, and Rosecrans knocked them down.”

Zemba took game-scoring honors with 22 points. She had 16 in the first half, while Carlisle contributed 12.

“We changed our defense in the second quarter and were at least able to slow Zemba down,” Looman said. “I have to credit Morgan Green, our junior point guard, for really stepping up and playing some outstanding defense for us.”

Senior Isabella Oliver paced the Crusaders (14-9) with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Oliver finished her Central career with 915 points and 980 rebounds. Fellow senior Hannah Olszewski tallied 10 points and also recorded 11 boards against the taller Bishops, who had two 6-foot starters and another forward at 5-foot-10.

“They killed us on the boards,” Looman said. “We were concerned about their height going in and really stressed the need to box out. We just didn’t do a good job in that area, especially on the defensive end. There was one sequence where Rosecrans got five straight offensive rebounds. So, their height really made a difference.

“Their length made it tough on some of our smaller guards. They seemed hesitant to shoot over the Rosecrans bigs. Give credit to Rosecrans, they played good defense. When they went to a zone, they made it hard for us to get the outside shots we typically get. When we did get them, we were just way off.”

Central’s four seniors (Oliver, Olszewski, Carly Fayak and Edy Harold) were part of 60 wins during their careers.

“They might be the winningest class Central has had in a long while,” Looman said. “Overall, I was happy with our season and really happy with the way our seniors stepped up.

“They made things easy. They played together and supported each other. They definitely will be missed. They are great kids and fun to be around. They worked hard, played hard and were great leaders. Sometimes, you have one or two people step up and become leaders. All four of those girls were leaders in their own way.”

UP NEXT

Rosecrans: Travels to Shadyside Saturday for a sectional championship game.

Central: Season over.

Bishop Rosecrans 48, Catholic Central 37

Rosecrans 19-10-10-9 — 48

Central 5-9-10-13 — 37

BISHOP ROSECRANS (13-10): Zemba 8 2-3 22; Hutcheson 2 0-0 4; J. McLaughlin 2 0-0 4; Carlisle 2 6-7 12; M. McLaughlin 3 0-1 6; C. Zemba 0 0-1 0; Wilson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 17, 8-12: 48.

CENTRAL (14-9): Zatta 1 2-2 5; Harold 2 0-0 4; Green 2 1-2 5; Rhode 0 2-2 2; Fayak 0 0-0 0; Grimm 0 0-0 0; Oliver 2 7-8 11; Olszewski 4 2-3 10. Totals 11, 14-17: 37.

3-POINT GOALS: Rosecrans 6 (Zemba 4; Carlisle 2); Central (Zatta).

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