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Relentless Rovers use rebounds, defense to topple Falcons

Relentless Rovers use rebounds, defense to topple Falcons


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor


Rootstown’s shooting numbers would not indicate a team that could find themselves on the winning side of the scoreboard.

In Friday’s season-opener, the Rovers shot just 21-of-59 (36 percent) from the floor, connected on 14-of-23 (61 percent) free throws and found range on only 1-of-6 (17 percent) of their 3-point attempts.

Add in the fact, too, that  Rootstown had 25 turnovers.

What you can’t see in those numbers, however, are the 27 offensive rebounds that the relentless Rovers used to overwhelm the host Field Falcons on their way to a 57-37 non-league victory on Friday in Brimfield.

It was a team effort on the glass for Rootstown (1-0), but senior Brooklyn McIntyre (13 total rebounds) and sophomore Nadia Lough (17 rebounds) highlighted the domination, which oftentimes led to easy second-chance points.

“We know that the strength of our team is with our bigs, and they work hard so going after offensive rebounds is something that just comes naturally to them,” said Rootstown assistant coach Joe Leonard, who was filling in for an absent head coach John Zelenak. “It is a bit of old-school basketball, but the sis who we are. The whole team works hard and they are coachable.”

Lough turned in a double-double. To go along with her 17 rebounds, she scored a game-high 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor. McIntyre was right behind her with a double-double of her own, finishing with 12 points (6-of-11 shooting).

Fittingly, in a tight game midway through the first quarter, it was McIntyre who followed up missed Rootstown layups in transition to grab the board and quickly put it back up on back-to-back possessions. The scores boosted Rootstown’s modest 11-9 lead to 15-9 and the Falcons were never that close again.

Rootstown led 19-11 after the first quarter, 34-12 at halftime and 46-27 going into the fourth quarter.

“We knew Rootstown wanted to pound the ball inside, but we jut did not rotate fast enough, and it seemed that we were constantly stuck behind the offensive player,” Field head coach John Misenko said. “We did not box out well tonight, and we did not get back in transition well.”

While Field (0-1) had its defensive struggles, it also found itself without any offensive rhythm.

The Falcons made just 9-of-56 field-goal attempts (only 3-of-26 in the second half) and were 4-of-25 from 3-point range.

“Obviously, we did not make nearly enough shots tonight,” Misenko said. “That is on me. I did not have the girls prepared enough. The things that did not work for us tonight, though, I know we can fix and we will. Tonight was one game, and we have 21 more to go. This group is learning a brand new system with me so it is going to take time and trust.”

The Falcons’ offensive leader was Abby Harlin, who had 15 points. Field had just four players score in the game, with Makayla Miller adding eight points (6-of-9 free throws), while Delilah Rahe and Ally Harlin each added seven points. Rahe led the Falcons with nine rebounds.

Defensively, the Falcons forced the Rovers into 25 turnovers, but far too often, Field simply turned the ball right back over to Rootstown without turning the miscue into points.

The Rovers mixed man-to-man and zone defenses and collapsed on any drive to the paint to make it very difficult for the Falcons to have a clear path to the basket.

Next up for Field will be a home matchup against Manchester on Tuesday, while the Rovers will play at Crestwood on Wednesday.

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