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Three straight losses have Lady Falcons falling

January 2, 2019
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

With the start of the All American Conference schedule about to bombard the Fitch girls basketball team, the Lady Falcons geared up for those games with an impressive array of opponents.

The Falcons faced off with perennial state title contender West Branch on Dec. 22 then traveled to Dublin Coffman High School to play in the Rocks Holiday Classic. Those two tilts were against highly regarded Hamilton Baden and Lincoln Prep. Unfortunately for the Falcons, that trio of games proved to be a Bermuda Triangle.

Three straight losses have dropped Fitch's overall season record to 6-3. West Branch started the Falcons downward spin with a 53-52 win on December 22. The games in Dublin were not much better as the Fitch girls were edged by one point by Baden and beaten by nine by Prep. Although his team came up empty last week, Fitch head coach Dan Schnurrenberger believed there was a bigger picture than the results.

"The goal was to challenge the girls with the best competition possible going into our conference games," Schnurrenberger said after returning from the long road trip. "We were disappointed to go 0-2 because we always play the games to win. All of the girls were very grateful for the opportunity to travel and play against elite teams. It was a great team bonding opportunity."

Schnurrenberger's kids couldn't keep up with Lincoln Prep in last Saturday's loss. The game was close for 24 minutes with Fitch actually leading at halftime, but the kids from Cleveland captured the lead in the final frame for keeps.

"We played solid for three quarters," Schnurrenberger said. "To compete with Lincoln Prep the way we did was great."

The heartbreaking defeat one day earlier to Baden was more proof of how hard the Falcons fought in the holiday tournament.

"Our girls played extremely hard against a very good team," said Schnurrenberger.

West Branch entered its game against the Falcons with just one loss. That loss, ironically, was to Fitch's rival Canfield. It looked as if the Lady Warriors were going to blow the Falcons directly out of their home gym. They led the game by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter, but the gritty Fitch girls clawed their way to be within a final shot of a win. Alas, that final attempt went awry for the Falcons. A big advantage for West Branch was on the boards where it won 38-27. Jessica Bock of the Warriors did a fantastic job boxing out Fitch's best rebounder Sabria Hunter. Still, Fitch's awesome senior star did grab 14 boards to go along with a team high 31 points. Coach Schnurrenberger was impressed with his team's willingness to never quit.

"I'm proud of our girls' effort in the fourth quarter," he said. "Many teams may have packed it in. We showed great heart."

It will take more than heart to snap Fitch's short losing skid. Games start to count towards a Red Tier championship when the Falcons host Howland on Jan. 9. A trip to Canfield will follow that home game. Strangely, Fitch will play both of those schools again before the end of January. Hopefully, Schnurrenberger's gang is as prepared for those home-in-home matches as he believes the rumbles at the Rocks made them.



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