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Published: 3/8/2009

Perrysburg rips Marion Harding

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

FINDLAY - Perrysburg played in the Division I district girls basketball final at the University of Findlay a year ago.

The Yellow Jackets faced Marion Harding, but it didn't go as well as they would have liked.

The memory of losing remained until the tip-off of the rematch Saturday.

Perrysburg, which relied heavily on a strong defensive effort and an active Demi Moschetti on the offensive end, proceeded to rout Harding 43-25 to claim a district championship.

The undefeated Yellow Jackets, led by Moschetti's 22 points, raised their school record win streak to 23. Ali Mesker added eight points to help Perrysburg advance to a regional semifinal at Norwalk on Tuesday night.

"We didn't get out of here last year, but I thought we were ready to take the next step," Perrysburg coach Mark Schrock said. "They came out and fought hard today and did what they had to do."

The Yellow Jackets simply shut down the Lady Presidents, who were averaging better than 50 points per game. They held Harding's top scoring threat, Shawnta Dyer, a 6-1 junior post, to nine points.

The Yellow Jackets' mix of man-to-man and zone defenses never allowed Harding (20-4) to score more than nine points in any quarter.

"I thought we defended very well, and we did a good job on Dyer down low," Schrock said. "We covered their shooters as well as we could, and we tried to double her as much as we could."

Maddie Gutkoski, a senior guard who finished with four points, played with the memory of last year's 44-28 loss to Harding still on her mind right until thesecond ticked off the clock.

"It's awesome, and I can't describe it," said Gutkoski. "We've got revenge because we lost to them last year."

Harding coach Greg Noftz considered the contest "a role-reversal" of last year's meeting when the Lady Presidents stepped on the court with a more experienced unit and were able to hold the Yellow Jackets without a field goal for nearly a 16-minute stretch of the contest.

Noftz credited the Yellow Jackets for their defensive work.

"We couldn't score at the other end, and that was the big issue," he said. "It was our inability to score. Their size gave us a problem. We hadn't faced a defense that good all year."

Yet, on the offensive end, Moschetti proved herself as more than enough for the Presidents to deal with. Moschetti did the most damage during the third quarter when the Yellow Jackets outscored the Lady Presidents 16-8 to stretch a 14-9 halftime advantage into a 30-17 edge entering the fourth quarter. The six-foot senior pumped in 12 points during the period, which included a pair of three-point plays.

"She's had a monster tournament," Schrock said. "She's taken it to another level in the tournament. She's getting into a groove.

"She's been hard to guard. She's been like that the last couple of games. Good for her. Good for all of us."

Moschetti said the Yellow Jackets arrived at the district final ready to take on the team that put an end to their season a year ago.

"We didn't play well against them last year, so we were ready to go," Moschetti said. "We played a really bad game against them last year, so we were happy to play against Marion."

Contact Donald Emmons at:

demmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302.



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