Abram Erupts in Fourth Quarter, Big Red Rolls
Sophomore Finishes with 20 Points for Steubenville
STEUBENVILLE — Because of early foul trouble on Saturday, Steubenville sophomore Makayla Abram mainly sat during the first three quarters against Buckeye Local.
With junior Madison Fields notching a double-double and Big Red putting an emphasis on defense, it overcame senior Emily Holzopfel and the Panthers’ attack until the contest got tight.
Abram came back to begin the fourth quarter and put the game away. She scored 18 points in the quarter (20 overall) and led Big Red to a 62-42 victory.
“I’ll play her for 32 minutes if I can,” Steubenville coach Jeff Lombardo said. “She’s had fouls where it’s like, ‘What are you doing?’ (Saturday), I had no issues with those fouls that put her in early foul trouble.
“When she came to the bench, I told her, ‘You’re still going to win this game for us at some point.’ We were just trying to keep her out of foul trouble because we had a lead. If it would’ve been a little closer, I may have rolled the dice. But, she stepped up in the fourth quarter, and that was the difference between the first time we played them and (Saturday).”
With Abram sitting, Fields paced Big Red (8-5) to a 33-21 halftime lead with 11 points (she finished with 14 overall and 10 rebounds). She also sparked a 12-2 scoring run to end the first quarter.
“Madison’s in great shape. She can play for 32 minutes straight,” Lombardo said. “The nice thing about her is you know what you’re going to get every time. She’s so reliable, so she did a great job inside while Makayla was in foul trouble.”
Defense also paved the way even when Buckeye Local (8-4) mounted a comeback in the third quarter. Big Red only scored seven points in the quarter (six in the last 1:45), and its lead was trimmed to 40-32. However, another 12-2 scoring run — this time led by Abram — put the game away.
“When you dig yourself that deep of a hole through the first two quarters, you use a lot of energy catching up,” Buckeye Local coach Tom Figurski said. “At times, we just didn’t have enough in the gas tank.”
Big Red’s defense, namely senior Leah Ferguson, limited Holzopfel to 22 points and six rebounds, which is normally a great game for anybody else. Holzopfel struggled and was nearly out of gas throughout the final quarter.
“Our goal is to try to make her work. We’ve done that in the past, and she still ends up with 40,” Lombardo said. “She’s just a really good player. We were just able to outscore them. Emily didn’t have her normal 35, but we were up by like 15 or 18 with two minutes left (in the game). She’s such a good player that it’s still scary.”
Holzopfel scored 31 points (14 in the fourth quarter) when the Panthers defeated Big Red, 53-45, on Dec. 3.
Steubenville also got tremendous contributions from its bench. Elexis Martin tallied seven points and six rebounds. Sydney Larue had six points and two boards, while Myla Gulan connected on three 3-pointers.
“Elexis Martin did a great job on both ends, especially rebounding,” Lombardo said. “I can point to every girl on the bench even if they only played a couple of minutes. Sydney Larue didn’t play many minutes but had a huge impact. That’s a tough role to play when you’re not playing much. That’s the difference between winning and losing.”
Behind Holzopfel, Alaire Destifanes had 13 points and four rebounds. Demetria Christian contributed four points off the bench.
“They were more aggressive. They forced us into what we typically don’t do,” Figurski said. “The thing is we shot 20 3-pointers. Part of that is we were playing from behind, but we never shoot 20 3s. We let them dictate what we did instead of being more aggressive, attacking the rim and taking better shots. I thought our shot selection was very poor today.”
John Marshall 59
MOUNDSVILLE — Shay Straughn continued her hot streak with 28 points, draining five 3-pointers in an early morning victory against Jefferson.
Abby Blake chipped in with 10 for the Monarchs.