BARBERTON — Sometimes youth can work in your favor and other times it can work against you.
For Highland’s girls basketball team Saturday, the green went beyond the uniforms in a 50-41 loss against seasoned Barberton.
The Hornets (6-5, 3-2) have dropped two in a row in Suburban League American Conference play following a 54-36 loss to Tallmadge, but coach Andy Gopp remains encouraged by the efforts of his youthful squad that has eight freshmen on the roster and three in the starting lineup.
“I thought that we battled hard all night, and I was pleased with our effort,” Gopp said. “We’ve got to learn how to limit turnovers and make free throws in big moments. If we do that, I think it’s a different outcome. “
The game was tightly contested for three quarters, with Highland taking an 11-7 lead after the first and rallying from a 23-18 halftime deficit to retake the lead at 32-30 after three. A 20-9 run by Barberton (9-2, 5-1), which got 16 points from Jenna Kelley, ultimately sealed the loss.
“Give Barberton a lot of credit,” Gopp said. “They’re an experienced team. They’ve got good kids who know how to play in those moments. I think maybe a year or two from now, you’re going to see that as part of our identity.”
One of the Hornets’ stumbling blocks was free throws, going just 5-for-12. The Magics hit 9-for-12.
For Highland, freshman Kendall McCormick (13 points), senior Emily Lyon (10 points) and junior Hannah Zuro (9) led the charge.
“I think we played really well,” McCormick said. “Even though it was a loss, it was one of our best offensive nights. We got each other involved. It was good.”
While the game went down in the loss column, Gopp is confident it will serve as valuable experience.
“What they should take away is that the upperclassmen that are on that floor believe in them,” Gopp said. “Our upperclassmen are starting to trust those kids on the floor no matter the situation. So, I think when it comes from the players, that trust is a lot more important than from me.”
Contact Jake Dungan at email@example.com.
Barberton 50, Highland 41
HIGHLAND 11 7 14 9 — 41
BARBERTON 7 16 7 20 — 50
Highland — Kendall McCormick 5-1-13, Hannah Zuro 3-2-9, Alexis Furyes 0-0-0, Emily Lyon 4-2-10, Tess Myers 2-0-4, Brooke Stuart 1-0-2, Jenna Parker 1-0-3, Colleen Flannery 0-0-0. TOTALS: 15-5-41.
Barberton — Taylor Stinnett 4-1-9, Jenna Kelley 4-4-16, Macy Ries 3-3-9, Sara Thomas 1-0-3, Casey Quinn 0-0-0, Aliyah Rhoden 0-0-0, Sophie Shifferly 2-0-5, Lanysha Prewitt 1-0-2, Jackie Ferguson 0-0-0, Hailey Haywood 2-1-6. TOTALS: 17-9-50.
3-point goals — McCormick 2, Zuro, Parker, Kelley 4, Thomas, Shifferly, Haywood. Rebounds — Highland 22 (Zuro 6), Barberton 19 (Stinnett 6). Assists — Highland 6 (Lyon, Stuart 2), Barberton 8 (Thomas 4). Records — Highland (6-5, 3-2), Barberton (9-2, 5-1). Junior varsity — Highland 43, Barberton 31.