Bright future awaits rebuilding Lady Falcons
February 26, 2020


It was widely well-known heading into this season that it would be one of rebuilding for the Fitch girls basketball team.

Fitch had lost one of the area's best players in Sabria Hunter to graduation and rostered only four seniors. Just three of those seniors were mainstays in head coach Dan Schnurrenberger's rotation. That's why when the Lady Falcons were handled by Hudson in the opening round of the Division I state tournament it came with little surprise. The eighth seeded Falcons lost to the ninth seeded Lady Explorers 68-43 last Saturday in Austintown. Fitch's season comes to a close with an underwhelming 8-15 record.

Hudson hit the home team hard in the opening period going on a 21-5 run. Fitch really was never able to recover from that early barrage. A 13-8 advantage for the Explorers gave them a very comfortable 34-13 lead at halftime. They kept pouring it on in the second half making this stay in the playoffs an extremely short one for the local girls. One reason why Fitch was floundering in that fateful first half was its 22 percent shooting mark from the field. An unexpected switch to half-court defense by the Explorers also forced the Falcons into 13 first half turnovers. That defensive strategy flummoxed Fitch's coaching staff.

"I wasn't expecting (the half-court defense)," said Schnurrenberger. "Hudson brought a lot of pressure. We struggled taking care of the ball. We needed someone to step up and be strong and take charge."

There was one Falcon who tried to flex her offensive muscle and that was sharpshooter Zayda Creque. Ever since Creque cracked Schnurrenberger's lineup a few weeks ago she has been nothing short of sensational. Against Hudson, the freshman fired in five three-pointers en route to leading the team with 20 points. If there was one silver lining to losing so early in the postseason it was the performance of Fitch's prized rookie.

"(Creque) had five threes in her first tournament game," Schnurrenberger marveled. "I'm proud of her. Zayda puts in the work, she practices hard and she shot the ball well. There is a bright future for Zayda Creque in Fitch girls basketball."

The other potential returnees who got into the game last weekend were juniors Emma Bartlett, Chelsie Wheeler and Mya McNevin and sophomore Alyssa Leskovac. Bartlett was the only one of that bunch who dented the scoreboard at all with 4 points. Senior Ashley Mickey scored 7 points against the Explorers in what was her final Fitch game. Fellow seniors Daria Williams, Caitlyn Corbett and Shania Stiers-Royal also will say goodbye. Although those girls will leave Austintown without a tournament win in their final season, they will graduate with plenty of memories. Many of those had to do with the experiences they had against some top notch competition.

"We had a lot of positives this season," Schnurrenberger insisted. "The girls won some big games and got a chance to play teams outside of this area. We were challenged by Division I teams such as Akron Kenmore, Madison, Mayfield, Massillon Jackson and Hudson to name a few. I am proud of that strength of schedule."

Schnurrenberger also had his squad get together away from the gym to promote bonding. Without the closeness these young ladies displayed, the losses would have taken way more of a toll on them than it did. That will be something that the seniors should take with them in their next walk of life.

"We did a lot of fun things as a team off of the court from last summer throughout this season," the coach mentioned. "Things like that I hope the girls will always cherish."


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