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Zatta, Central girls hang on, defeat Buckeye Local

Katie Zatta

RAYLAND — Clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch — and another dazzling performance from junior Katie Zatta — lifted Catholic Central to a 49-44 road victory over Buckeye Local on Monday.

The now 3-7 Crusaders hoisted 25 freebies on the night, knocking down 19. During the final quarter, they were 10 of 13 from the stripe

“Missed free throws cost us in our game last week against St. Clairsville (a 43-40 setback), but the girls really stepped up when we needed them to,” Central head coach Jess Looman said. “Due to all the schedule changes we had to make (the Crusaders will play four games in six days), this a busy, challenging week for us. It is great to get started with a win in a game where both teams played very hard and battled.

“I am really happy because everyone who played contributed. We are starting to play much better together as a team. Playing four consistent quarters remains our goal. We have not done that yet, but we are getting closer. We had some small mental mistakes in the fourth quarter, so we will work on getting those fixed.”

Zatta again paced Central in scoring with 27 points. She had two connections from behind the arc and went 9 for 10 from the line. She was 5 for 6 during the final eight minutes.

“We watched Central on film, and we knew Zatta is a ball player,” first-year Buckeye Local coach Jeff Stone said. “She made some clutch free throws, and that is what you have to do down the stretch.

“This was a hard fought game between two up-and-coming teams. Central made its shots down the stretch, and we missed ours. I have no complaints–it was a good game.”

The score was knotted at nine after the opening quarter, but the Crusaders took the lead for good on a Zatta triple to open the second period. Central also got a key 3-pointer from Theresa Kerker, as it grabbed a 24-19 lead at the intermission. Ten points from Zatta helped the visitors grab a 37-30 advantage after three.

An Ellen Rhode put back and two Clara Symington free throws put the Crusaders up by double figures early in the fourth. The Panthers, however, battled back, as Emily Valuska delivered five points. Free-throw makes then helped Looman’s squad put the victory on ice.

“We don’t quit,” Stone said of his Panthers. “We could be down by 20 or 30, but we do not stop. We practice that way, and we keep working. The girls play a whole game, and I like that about them.

“In recent games against Edison and Beaver Local when we needed baskets, we made them. When we needed them tonight, our shots just were not falling. Credit to Central–they played a good game and made some big shots.”

Morgan Green had nine points for Central. She and Ali Grimm delivered key foul-line makes in the fourth quarter. Rohde hauled down 12 rebounds and rejected four shots, while Symington collected 11 boards and was credited with three blocks.

“Again, it was a total team win,” Looman said. “Our post players did not score a lot, but Ellen and Clara came up big on the boards, as did Bri (DeChristopher) and Kaylee (Kirkpatrick). Morgan and Ali, our guards, played solid floor games.

“Katie is Katie. She works hard on her game, and she just keeps getting better. I hope we can carry the momentum we had tonight forward as we go through the rest of the week.”

JV ACTION

Kalia Hundley knocked down 13 points and Janyah Withers netted 11, as Buckeye Local rolled to a 42-21 victory in the junior varsity contest. Jackie O’Karma paced the Crusaders with six and Anna Arai added five.

UP NEXT

CCHS: Tentatively hosts Carrollton on Wednesday.

Buckeye Local: Tentatively hosts Martins Ferry today.

“It is going to be a busy week for us,” Stone said. “We have Martins Ferry at home next, and we will need to keep working hard and look to pull an upset.”

Catholic Central 49, Buckeye Local 44

Central 9 15 13 12 — 49

Buckeye 9 10 11 14 — 44

CENTRAL (3-7): Zatta 8 9-10 27; Symington 0 2-2 2; Green 2 4-7 9; Rohde 1 0-0 2; Kerker 1 0-0 3; O’Karma 0 0-0 0; Grimm 1 2-2 4; Kirkpatrick 0 0-0 0; Dong 0 0-0 0; DeChristopher 0 2-2 2. TOTALS: 13, 19-25: 49.

BUCKEYE LOCAL (4-9): Christian 4 0-0 8; Walker 5 1-6 11; George 0 0-0 0; Blazeski 0 0-0 0; Glover 0 0-0 0; Crain 1 3-4 5; M. Valuska 5 2-3 15; Dockery 0 0-0 0; E. Valuska 3 1-1 7; Pelkey 0 0-0 0; Hundley 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 18, 7-14: 44.

3-POINT GOALS: Central 4 (Zatta 2, Green, Kerker); Buckeye Local 1 (M. Valuska).

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