An early lead helped fifth-seeded Cuyahoga Heights upend No. 4 St. Thomas Aquinas in a Division IV sectional final on Saturday, 43-30.
The Redskins got off to a fast start and held off the Knights in the fourth quarter to reach the district semifinals for the first time since 2018.
“That was really exciting,” Cuyahoga Heights coach Al Martin said. “We played well. We made some buckets early, which was great. We got off to a good start and we struggled a little bit too, so it was a relief that we made some baskets in the first quarter. We were up 22 after three quarters so it was nice to get a lead and work ahead for a change.”
With the Redskins having success inside, St. Thomas Aquinas was forced out of its zone but that didn’t slow down Cuyahoga Heights.
“We’re not overly big but we were able to get some inside shots against their zone,” Martin said. “Then they went to a man and we got some good looks early against the man on some cuts. Once you make a couple, then the outside shots become a little easier.”
Julia Harris led the Redskins with 14 points and McKayla Spicer finished with nine and 13 rebounds. Mia Spicer added eight points and Katarina Kiriakis and MaKayla Barfield both scored five. Grace Lasky contributed with four.
The Redskins advanced to play top-seeded and defending district champion Dalton in a district semifinal on Wednesday at Norwayne High School.
“They’re really good,” Martin said of the Bulldogs. “I went out and watched them play and I saw them last year as well. They’re really well-coached and talented. They have a girl that’s going to Ashland on a scholarship. They have so many good pieces sand they’re really well-coached. It’s a tall order but our girls are excited to prepare for them and take their shots.”