GREENFORD -Heartland Christian knew it had a tall task ahead of it entering Saturday's Div. IV sectional final against top-seeded Lowellville at South Range High School.
"We have athletic girls, so I wanted to try to run," Heartland coach Josh Osborn said.
"Every one that plays them is scared of them from who I talked to, so I just wanted our girls to not be scared and hustle the whole game. I thought they did that."
Despite trying to keep up with the Rockets, the Lions ultimately didn't stand a chance. Lowellville outscored Heartland by 40 in the first half on its way to a 63-15 victory.
Lowellville (20-2) forced Heartland (3-18) into 14 turnovers in the first quarter and didn't allow a Lion shot attempt until there was 2:02 left in the first quarter. By that time it was already 19-0.
At halfime, Heartland, which started three freshman and a sophomore, had 23 turnovers and four points. Lowellville, which advances to meet Lisbon at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in a district semifinal, called off the dogs in the third quarter.
While the Rockets had no trouble doing whatever they wanted, they had a dreaded injury scare with 3:35 left in the third when starter Emily Carlson crashed into two Heartland players and then landed hard on the floor.
She was still for about 10 seconds before shaking it off and returning to the game. The gym was dead silent during those moments.
"It was flashback city," Lowellville coach Tony Matisi said. "Just then everything came back to me. You can't lose a quality kid like that. We have to stay healthy."
Emily Carlson and Taylor Hvisdak had 13 points each to lead the Rockets. Madison Opritza scored 12 points off the bench.
Heartland's lone bright spot came when Kristen Osborn swished a three at the buzzer at the end of the third quarter. She led the team with six points.
"That was a good hustle play by our point guard," Josh Osborn said. "It was nice to see because she twisted her ankle earlier in the game."
Lowellville is looking forward to playing Lisbon. Matisi said that his team really didn't want to play Wellsville again because they had handled the Tigers in two regular season meetings.
"This will be good for us," Matisi said. "Pam Pierce is a tough player and we will have to put a body on her. It's nice to play somebody different. You get tired of playing the same teams."
LOWELLVILLE: 24 20 11 8-63
HEARTLAND: 2 2 9 2-15
LOWELLVILLE SCORING: Kaye Solak 4-0-9, Ashley Moore 5-2-13, Andi Hrosovsky 0-0-0, Taylor Hvisdak 4-3-13, Emily Carlson 1-3-5, Brook Zackasee 0-0-0, Kelly Hynes 1-0-2, Molly Zimmerman 0-0-0, Samantha Chiclowe 0-0-0, Emily Partika 0-0-0, Allison Wereb 0-0-0, Madison Opritza 4-0-12, Rachel Durbin 3-0-6, Abby Partika 0-0-0, Katie Seidita 1-1-3. TEAM TOTALS: 23-51, 10-19, 63.
HEARTLAND SCORING: Phoebe Nabors 1-0-2, Ginny Burgess 0-0-0, Alisha Schwartz 0-0-0, Madison Pennington 1-0-2, Kristen Osborn 2-0-6, Rosealin Morris 0-1-1, Ashley Weikart 1-0-2, Kristen Hilliard 1-0-2. TEAM TOTALS: 6-32, 1-3,15.
THREE?POINTERS: Lowellville 7 (Opritza 3, Hvisdak 2, Moore, Solak), Heartland 2 (Kristen Osborn).