Lady Westerners edge MMCRU by one point

Thursday, December 7, 2017
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) Above, MMCRU’s Aliyah Jackson takes the ball up against Brooke Koele. Jackson ended with seven points for the Royals, second best on the team. Koele blocked five MMCRU shots.

AKRON — In a game that came down to the wire, it was Akron-Westfield who came out on top of MMCRU by a final score of 43-42 as the Westerners picked up their first win of the season on Tues., November 28. Despite the win, Akron-Westfield Head Coach Kent Johnson said the team could have played better.

“We just didn’t run our offense like we are supposed to,” Johnson said. “That’s going to be the emphasis the next couple days is running our offense and not just making things happen. We need to recognize who the shooter is and we just need to know more about basketball, know what the situation is. We got the win. It wasn’t the prettiest win, but we’ll take it.”

The Westerners could have put the game out of reach in the final few minutes, but couldn’t hit key free throws as the team ended 8-of-16 from the line. Brooke Koele dropped in what would be the game-winning free throw as A-W went up by four with under 25 seconds left in the game.

(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) Above, Akron-Westfield’s Brooke Koele uses her height to put up a shot over a group of MMCRU defenders. Koele led the Westerners with 20 points in the win.

Megan Loutsch responded with a 3-pointer from the corner to pull within one with 10 seconds left. The Royals needed a quick turnover or foul, but did neither as time ran out. Head Coach Gillian Letsche said her team thought Loutsch’s 3-pointer had tied the game.

“The girls thought it was tied and so they didn’t foul right away,” Letsche said. “I’m jumping up and down on the sideline yelling ‘Foul!’. We need to learn from our mistakes, but I’m so proud of the girls. They have shown so much improvement and they play like a family and that’s what we want.”

Whenever it seemed the Westerners would get a bit of separation, Loutsch came through for the Royals with a clutch basket, many from beyond the arc. She ended the night with 19 points.

“She does go up to the post every once and a while, but her comfort zone is out there,” Letsche said. “That’s where she’s good. That’s her role on the team, she’s got to hit those threes.”

The Westerners came out strong on both sides of the ball and pulled out to an 18-10 advantage after a quarter with Lily Kenny and Jaden Harris each hitting 3-pointers in the frame. Brooke Koele shut down MMCRU trying to advance to the basket as she came up with five blocks in the game. She also led the team with 20 points as she was 8-for-15 from the floor and finished with nine rebounds.

“She does block the ball well, but she needs to play a little bit better defense,” Johnson said. “That’s probably her better end blocking shots. She does shoot the ball well.”

Harris ended with seven points while Kenny had six. Brynn Van Eldik and Danika Smith each had five for the Westerners.

Aliyah Jackson had seven points for the Royals while Gretchen Ruba and Haley Schwarz each ended with five points.

Both teams move to 1-1 on the season. The Westerners host Trinity Christian (1-1) while the Royals travel to play Gehlen Catholic (3-0) on Friday, December 1.

A-W 18 6 7 12—43

MMCRU 10 11 6 15—42