Lady Warriors best Marietta in round one of rivalry

MIKE MORRISON The Marietta Times Marietta's Jennifer Smith (22) goes up for a basket as Warren's Emily Jackson (43) defends during a high school girls basketball game Wednesday at Sutton Gymnasium.

Warren senior Emily Jackson celebrated her 18th birthday in style by pouring in a game-high 19 points to lead the visiting Warren Warriors to a 58-39 win over the Marietta Tigers Wednesday night at Sutton Gymnasium.

Jackson scored eight first quarter points to help give her team the early lead and then scored ten points in the second half as Warren held off a furious Marietta third quarter comeback bid to win their fifth consecutive game to open the season.

“I thought we executed very well tonight and were able to move the ball around to get the open shot,” said Jackson, who knocked down three three-pointers in the game. “It was a big win for us against our rivals.”

Jackson scored the first five points of the game for Warren before connecting on her second long range shot of the opening quarter to cap a 9-0 Warrior run to quickly push the lead out to 12-2 with three and half minutes to play in the first quarter.

Getting off to a slow start has been a problem throughout the first four games of the season for a very young Tiger squad.

“We’ve got to learn to answer the bell a little bit better,” said first year MHS head coach Alan Ruth. “Turnovers are killing us but sooner or later we are going to put it together.”

Marietta rallied back to cut the Warren lead to 14-9 at the end of the first quarter keyed by five consecutive points by junior Natalie Brooks and a pair of free throws by sophomore Hannah Kroft.

Caspen Ford opened up the second quarter with a triple for Warren to kick-off what would prove to be a 13-5 run that saw the white and blue pullout to a 27-14 lead with a minute to go in the half.

The Tigers connected on 13-of-15 free throw attempts in the game including a pair each by freshman Jessica Smith and Morgan Altenburger to send them to the intermission trailing the Warriors by 11 at 29-18.

Marietta really began to take a bite out of the Warrior lead early in the third period and pulled to within five at 34-29 thanks to three-pointers by a trio of freshman in Adi Hill, Smith and Altenburger.

A field goal by Daisy Baker halted the Marietta run before Grace Way and Jackson scored old-fashioned three-point plays in the final minute of the third to give Warren a double-digit lead heading to the final period.

The Warriors put things to rest in a hurry in the final period as senior Kate Liston opened the quarter with a field goal followed by a back-to-back triples by Ford to extend the lead to 19.

After Brooks scored two more of her team-high 13 points, Jackson splashed in her third triple of the game to push the lead to 53-33 and end any serious hope of a Tiger comeback.

Warren head coach Amy Colgrove had high praise for Jackson’s abilities not only on the offensive end but what she brings to the Warrior team defensively as well.

“She (Jackson) really played well tonight and she is starting to get into the swing of it,” said Colgrove of her five-foot-nine inch senior forward. “She had a big night and she is playing well at both ends for us.”

Though Jackson was the only Warrior to reach double-digits, Peyton Bowe and Ford added nine points apiece while Liston added eight.

Colgrove felt that her team is reaping the benefits of playing such a very tough schedule early on and was pleased with the way her team responded when Marietta made their run in the third period.

“We had played some tough games early on and I think that has really helped us,” said Colgrove. “We have been able to hit shots when we need to and get stops when we need to and just really play mentally strong down the stretch.”

Marietta was led by Brooks with 13 points while Kroft added 10 points and six rebounds.

Ruth was quite pleased with the effort of his squad against an outstanding Warren team and feels he can see the light at the end of the tunnel for his team which got almost two-thirds of their points from sophomores and freshman.

“Hats off to Warren as they are a really good team but I was really proud of the way our girls battled tonight,” said Ruth, whose Lady Tigers slipped to 1-3 on the young season. “We are improving and definitely getting better and I am proud of the way they worked and how hard they played tonight.”

Marietta will be back in action Saturday night when they host New Philadelphia while Warren travels to Fairland where they will take on South Webster.