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Williamstown runs past Wheeling Central, 80-53

Photo by Jordan Holland Williamstown’s Georgie Inman (14) and Sophie Folwell (30) guard Wheeling Central’s Marisa Horan as she tries to attack the basket during a high school girls basketball game Saturday. Williamstown won, 80-53.

WILLIAMSTOWN — Fred Sauro has enjoyed watching the transformation of this year’s Williamstown girls basketball team.

Since starting the season 2-3, the Yellowjackets have won seven of their last eight, including a convincing 80-53 victory over Wheeling Central Saturday to improve to 9-4 overall.

“Our kids are improving,” said Sauro, whose team shot 48.3% (28 for 58) from the floor against the Maroon Knights. “I think this team had some confidence issues to begin with. As we’ve progressed through the season, they learned how to get a lot mentally tougher. This week we’ve grown a lot as a team and we just want ride the crest of that wave like surfer.”

Williamstown was powered by a balanced offensive attack, led by Jayla Wiseman’s 16 points. Nicole Reynolds and Georgie Inman added 12 points apiece, Aubrey Erwin and Sophie Folwell tacked on nine each and Lakyn Joy chipped in eight. Riah Sprouse grabbed six rebounds, Reynolds dished out six assists and Folwell registered four steals.

Wheeling Central, which dropped to 6-7, got 14 points from Marisa Horan and 10 points apiece from Lily Vogrin and Tristen White. Alexis Mills came down with a game-high 10 rebounds while Abbey Jones grabbed eight. Horan led the Knights with four dimes and four steals.

Playing its fourth game this week, Central struggled offensively, shooting 31.3% (20 for 64) from the floor and making just four 3-pointers on 21 attempts.

“We broke the press, but once we did, we kind of forced shots, rushed our shots, didn’t really get into our offense,” said Central head coach Roberta Olejasz. “I think in the first quarter we were fine, then we just kind of took the first shot we got rather than run our offense and do what we know how to do.

“Williamstown was a lot more aggressive than us today. They’re a really good team.”

Central led 11-10 late in the first quarter before Williamstown closed the period on a 5-0 run. Joy opened the second period with a pair of 3s to put the ‘Jackets up 21-15. After a jumper by Erwin, Folwell knocked down three foul shots to put Williamstown up 10, 26-16. Later, Folwell knocked down a 3 to make it 33-20 with 2:59 left in the half. Central got within 11 on Elle Canestraro’s layup, but Reynolds drained a trey at the buzzer to send Williamstown into halftime with a 39-25 advantage.

“We wanted to push the fastbreak,” Sauro said. “We thought we could get some numbers at the other end. Their defense is good, and if you’re going to go against them in the halfcourt all the time, you’re going to struggle.

“They like to slow down and run their sets. We dictated the tempo of the game.”

Williamstown’s lead continued growing throughout the third quarter. Wiseman’s mid-range jumper made it a 21-point game, 54-33, before a 3 by Erwin stretched it to 60-37.

Inman opened the fourth period with a pair of layups to make it 64-39. She later assisted Riah Sprouse on a 3-pointer before back-to-back 3s by Maybree Rinard made it 77-43, the largest lead of the game.

“They’re a very difficult team to beat,” Sauro said. “They have a lot of pride, a lot of skill, a lot of fundamentals. Her team is young, and I know they’re going to bounce back.”

Central will look to bounce back Monday at North Marion. Also on Monday, Williamstown has another big challenge when 11-1 St. Marys visits.

“St. Marys is a very good team,’ Sauro said. “Quality. They’re very good defensively and they have a balanced scoring attack. They’re good.”

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