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Girls Basketball: Streetsboro’s historic season ends in regional-final loss to Laurel

Girls Basketball: Streetsboro’s historic season ends in regional-final loss to Laurel



Streetsboro’s Sydney Abbuhl plays defense during Friday’s regional final.
Natalie Queen/Portage Sports

By Jim Smith



The historic season for the Streetsboro girls basketball team ended in the Division II Region 5 title game on the Jack Greynolds floor in the Barberton High School gymnasium Friday night.

Streetsboro senior Ella Kassan sizes up a free-throw attempt during Friday’s regional final against Laurel.
Natalie Queen/Portage Sports

The Laurel Gators halted the Rockets’ tournament experience with a 53-32 victory.

“It was an amazing ride. This is a special group of kids. The amount of commitment, effort and work they put in, it’s hard to put into words,” remarked Streetsboro head coach, Carl Singer, after the contest.

Laurel, led by sophomore Saniyah Hall, opened the game by holding Streetsboro scoreless in the first quarter. Hall was the only player to tally points in the opening frame, accounting for all 14 points on the scoreboard.

Hall was recently named a 2024 Ms. Ohio finalist and is the No.-3 ranked player nationally in the Class of 2026 by ESPN.

“The words ‘settled in’ were definitely the difficult piece for us,” acknowledged Singer, while

discussing his team’s first-quarter challenges. “Obviously, we played some big games recently. This was a very bright stage, we wanted it so bad that we had a hard time settling in to start the game.

“We were definitely frustrated at that point,” Singer added. “Obviously, nobody wants to come out in a game like this and have that kind of a rough start. But we’ve been behind before, and we came back before and we still believed we were capable of doing that. We just couldn’t be consistent enough.”

Streetsboro’s Naomi Benson, who led the Rockets with 13 points recognized the struggle her team faced after falling behind by double-digits early, noting, “We were a bit nervous, but we knew we had the mentality to go win this game, but we just fell short in the first quarter.”

The Gators’ defensive pressure was unswerving throughout the game and Laurel head coach Terrina Robinson professed that, in addition to Hall’s offensive performance, defense would be key to their success.

“We wanted to stay in control from start to finish, we know that defense wins games and championships, so we continued to play like that,” said Robinson.

Rockets sophomore point guard Olivia Johnson-Wilson advances the ball up the court.
Natalie Queen/Portage Sports

Robinson also believed that losing in last year’s regional final inspired her team.

“Our kids used that as motivation. We’re a young group and people don’t think we have the experience. We play, by far, one of the toughest schedules throughout the division, so we try to use our regular season to prepare us for these types of moments.”

While Hall was scorching the nets for 31 points during the evening, a defining span in the game may have come within the first two minutes in the third quarter.

Trailing 27-12 at the half, any thoughts of a Rockets’ rally were dashed after the Gators opened the third quarter with an 8-0 run that included back-to-back successful 3-point shots by Laurel’s Jordyn Meyer.

“If they are going to give us wide open shots, we have to make them pay. Kudos to Jordyn for continuously being able to push herself to be able to make those shots. She’s doing a great job at that,” observed Robinson.

Although Streetsboro’s season may have concluded sooner than desired and short of a state championship, the memories for the players who accounted for the most successful basketball team in the school’s history are solidly entrenched as Benson spoke of the experience.

“This has been a monumental season for me and my team,” the 6-foot-3 junior said. “I loved this season. It was a great, amazing run to have. I am glad I got to do it with my best friends.”

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