YORK TWP. — Understanding rebounding angles and floor spacing are advanced skills, but sophomore Grace Allen and freshman Sydney Bell are proving to be wise beyond their years.
The young post duo without ideal size stole the spotlight Saturday afternoon, racking up double-doubles to lead the Buckeye girls basketball team to an easy 49-26 Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division victory over rival Black River.
The 5-foot-10 Allen had a game-high 15 points and 12 rebounds, while the 5-6 Bell posted her first double-double with 10 points and a game-high 14 boards.
“We make it look easy because we go into practice each day and practice how we play,” Allen said. “Every single day we want to work our hardest because if we don’t work hard in practice, what we do on the court would not be possible.”
With an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time, Bell set the tone with eight of the Bucks’ first 12 points. The right-hander also flashed quick mid-range shooting twice and got a couple backside layups because she instinctively rotated to balance the floor.
Allen, meanwhile, was workmanlike with four points and four boards in the first quarter. The baby-hook specialist then had four and three, two and three and five and two over the next three periods.
Buckeye (5-6, 5-1) forged a whopping 42-22 rebounding edge, including 13-3 in the tone-setting first quarter that ended with the Bucks ahead on the scoreboard 14-6.
“When the ball goes up, I just try my hardest to get around everybody and jump up and grab it,” Bell said.
“(Bell’s) been a big impact,” Allen added. “She’s big down low, and every day she works at her post moves. Sometimes it’s like she isn’t there and then she’s there (for a rebound). She has such a big presence for us. It’s really nice.”
Black River (2-8, 1-4) only lost the second half 22-17 but couldn’t match Buckeye’s physicality in the first. Senior forward Erica Benson posted 10 points, four rebounds and three steals, while guard Sarah Kozik and center Jenna-Star Shranko added six points apiece.
In falling behind 27-9 at halftime, the Pirates shot 4-for-21 and committed 19 turnovers against the Bucks’ press that transitioned into a 2-3 zone.
“They’re very athletic, and I think they’re more mentally strong,” Benson said. “They’re just bigger, better.
“We have to play together more and we have to calm down. I feel like when we get against teams we get a little worked up and we want to go instead of anticipating things, slowing down and thinking about it.”
Buckeye also got 10 points and a game-high four assists from guard Tatum Widenmeyer and eight points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals from forward Madison Ross. The Bucks dominated despite not making a free throw until the fourth quarter.
That sets up a big PAC Stars Division game Wednesday at first-place Wellington (6-2, 5-0).
“We were all working really well together,” Bell said. “We’ve been working on getting the ball inside, and I think we were able to do that.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buckeye 49, Black River 26
BLACK RIVER 6 3 11 6 — 26
BUCKEYE 14 13 8 14 — 49
Black River — Erica Benson 4-2-10, Hannah Heath 0-0-0, Jenna-Star Shranko 3-0-6, Sarah Dudziak 1-0-2, Sarah Kozik 3-0-6, Lydia Wacker 1-0-2, Maddy Hoehn 0-0-0, Kennedy Petruzzi 0-0-0, Ashley Kalman 0-0-0. TOTALS: 12-2-26.
Buckeye — Madison Ross 4-0-8, Sydney Bell 5-0-10, Grace Allen 7-1-15, Tatum Widenmeyer 4-0-10, Gabby Glancy 0-2-2, Courtney Keeler 1-0-2, Madison Amburgey 1-0-2, Alyssa Beckett 0-0-0, Haylee Roach 0-0-0. TOTALS: 22-3-49.
3-point goals — Widenmeyer 2. Rebounds — Black River 22 (Shranko, Wacker 5), Buckeye 42 (Bell 14, Allen 12). Assists — Black River 4 (Kozik, Benson, Shranko, Petruzzi), Buckeye 13 (Widenmeyer 4). Records — Black River (2-8, 1-4), Buckeye (5-6, 5-1). Junior varsity — Buckeye 40, Black River 18.