Prep girls basketball: Warren tops MHS

VINCENT – Entering Wednesday night, the seniors on the Warren High girls basketball team had never beaten Marietta.

That no longer holds true, as the Lady Warriors claimed a 44-37 victory over the Lady Tigers at Warrior Coliseum Wednesday night.

“It was just a good win, period, for us,” said Warren head coach Amy Colgrove. “This is just a good win to get our confidence going into tournament and for the big games coming up.”

It was all about defense early on, as Warren held Marietta to two points in the first quarter. The Lady Tigers were still in it, however, as they held the Lady Warriors to just seven points.

Jordanna Rauch opened the scoring with a layup, which was the only basket of the quarter until the 2:17 mark when Kaitlyn Cozzens hit a layup for Marietta. Mackenzie Ullman hit a free-throw in between jumpers from Emma Ryan and Amy Fleming to put Warren up 7-2 at the end of one.

Points were a little easier to come by in the second quarter. Erica Dawson opened it up with a pair of free throws to make it 7-4.

Dawson, who had missed the past couple weeks with a wrist injury, was unexpectedly cleared to play before the contest. Although Dawson appeared to be rusty, she was able to lead the team in scoring with 24 points.

“The kids found out Erica was coming back right before warmups,” said Marietta head coach Scott Cozzens. “After not playing with her for two or three weeks, she had to get her legs back and they’ve got to get used to doing stuff.”

“It was (Dawson’s) first game back and I thought we did a good job on her,” Colgrove said. “She hit some pretty good shots, but I thought our defense played pretty well.”

Up 7-4, Rauch hit a corner 3 to spark a 13-0 run, during which Victoria Buzzard hit seven free throws to stretch the lead to 20-4. Dawson stopped the bleeding momentarily with a 3-pointer and a 2-point jumper before Rauch and Kendra Lynch each hit a free throw to make the score 22-9. Starr Johnson scored a putback layup and Dawson hit two foul shots to close out the half with Warren up 22-13.

It was a half both teams likely want to forget, offensively. Marietta shot 4-of-21 (19 percent) while Warren was 5-of-19 (26 percent) from the field.

Rauch opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer, but Dawson quickly responded with a mid-range jumper to make it 25-15. The Lady Warriors then went on a 9-0 run paced by three points from Lynch and two points each from Ryan, Ullman and Rauch.

Taylor Smith converted a three-point play to cut it to 34-18, but Warren would maintain a 16-point lead to go into the final quarter up 40-24.

Dawson hit a 3-ball to open the fourth but was quickly countered by a 3-pointer from Ullman.

Marietta would not go away, getting a putback layup from Lexi Walsh followed by consecutive baskets from Dawson to cut it to 43-33. Ullman then hit a free throw to extend the lead to 11. Dawson scored four straight points to cut the deficit to 44-37, but the Tigers could get no closer.

“I thought the Warren kids played well,” Cozzens said.

“They played hard. It had been a long time since they had beaten us. Give them a lot of credit.”

Rauch led Warren with 14 points and eight rebounds in the game. She is one of five seniors on the team who had never beaten Marietta.

“It’s huge,” Rauch said. “I was really excited.

“We’ve lost a couple games that we should’ve won that kind of brought us down, but this is definitely getting us back up to where we need to be.”

The win improved Warren’s record to 11-7, while the loss dropped Marietta to the same mark.

Both teams are back in action Saturday, with Marietta hosting Dover and Warren on the road to play Chillicothe.