MINERAL RIDGE It was a rematch of last season's Div. III district final, but it turned out to be not much of a match at all.
Top-seeded Ursuline, using its heavily experienced lineup, rolled to a 53-26 victory over South Range.
Last season, the Irish topped United 62-46 in the district final. In this edition, the Irish made their first four shots and had a 10-1 lead before the Raiders could even work up a sweat.
First-year Ursuline coach Courtney Davidson, who won a state title as a player with the Irish in 2004, knew her team had to be ready to go against the Raiders. She remembered the days when she was involved with the Inter-County League.
"I'm a ICL girl," the former Michigan State player said. "I went to McDonald (at one time). I know South Range. They give you that same scrappiness from grade school on up."
Courtney Powell, a 6-foot, 1-inch Memphis University recruit, had 16 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Irish charge. Briana Curd added 15 points, while Aurielle Irizarry had 11 points.
Ursuline (15-7) will meet Inter-Tri County League upper tier champion United in the district final at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
South Range (14-9) had glimpses of hope when Ursuline had some lapses in the second quarter and beginning of the third, but it was a long way away from capitalizing.
"If we make a couple foul shots maybe we could have gone into half down eight," Raider coach Wayne Johnson said. "In the third quarter we were focused. We played great defense and they were missing shots. We had a period of about two to three minutes that if we made a couple shots, we would have climbed back into it."
The Irish went on an 11-0 run to start the third quarter. The Raiders did not score their first points of that frame until the 1:24 mark.
"It was a physical game and we're not used to playing games like that," Johnson said. "That's the difference between the schedule Ursuline plays and what we play."
The lead would balloon to as much as 29 in the fourth quarter.
"In the middle of the third quarter they just took over," Johnson said. "There wasn't a whole lot we could do about it."
Lexi Naples had 10 points and four steals to top the Raiders. Kelsey Maynard had eight points, while Kristin Robinson had eight boards.
Compounding the Raiders' problems was the way Ursuline seemed content to play keep-away for large stretches especially late.
"It might be a 12-point game when they're holding the ball, but it seems like it's 20 points," Johnson said.
South Range started the season 3-5, so to be in this position was quite the turnaround.
"We go to practice every day and we practice hard to prepare for games like this," Johnson said. "It just didn't turn out the way we hoped."
SOUTH RANGE: 7 11 4-4 - 26
URSULINE: 15 15 11 12 - 53
SO. RANGE SCORING: Sierra Patrella 0-0-0, Ashley Sharp 0-0-0, Starla Sharp 1-0-2, Kelsey Maynard 3-1-8, Jordan Youngs 0-0-0, Allison Oliver 0-0-0, Stevie Taylor 0-0-0, Lexi Naples 4-1-10, Kristin Robinson 1-2-4, Hannah Wiery 1-0-2, Sara Durr 0-0-0, Kendall Syms 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 10-37, 4-12: 26.
URSULINE SCORING: Aaliyah Brown 0-0-0, Kelsey Cannell 0-0-0, Aurielle Irizzary 5-1-11, Briana Curd 5-4-15, Marissa Vigilio 0-0-0, Macey Gunther 2-0-5, Mary O'Donnell 0-0-0, Xavia King 0-0-0, Angela Powell 0-0-0, Jessica McGeary 0-2-2, Courtney Powell 7-2-16, McKenzie Stimpert 0-0-0, Sydney Beasley 2-0-4, Stephanie O'Halek 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 21-53, 9-15: 53.
THREE POINTERS: South Range 2 (Naples, Maynard), Ursuline 2 (Gunther, Curd).