WILLOUGHBY—After opening the Melanie Williams Memorial Tournament at Andrews-Osborne Academy with a loss to Independence on Thursday, the Orange Lions went on to win their next two to finish in fifth place.
Orange edged Beaumont on Saturday then closed out the tournament with a 59-51 win over Cleveland Central Catholic on Sunday.
“Everybody thinks about losses being a bad thing but that loss against a real good Independence team was necessary so we could make adjustments and the kids could see that live action then pull out two more wins against good teams,” Orange coach Ship Collins said.
The Lions (2-1) jumped out to an early lead against Central Catholic before being forced to play from behind in the second half.
Orange led 16-8 after the first quarter and 28-19 at halftime.
“That’s where the losses come in, you kind of get used to it but you don’t want to get used to it,” Collins said. “You know if you play your game and go back to what you do, hopefully, you come out on the victorious end.”
Central Catholic hit four 3-pointers to spark a 15-0 run that helped the Ironmen turn a 35-32 deficit into a 37-35 lead and a 41-39 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Kayden Lawson and Mahogany Sanford both scored six points in the final eight minutes and Casey Smith shined on both ends of the court to lead the Lions to victory.
“She’s a spark for us that can ignite the whole thing,” Collins said of Smith, who finished with 11 points and six rebounds. “She never stops. She’s an All-Ohio first-teamer, so is Kayden, and they played up to their capabilities. We got Mahogany Sanford back and I can’t say enough about our entire squad. In the wins we had, we used just about everybody on our bench. It was a great team effort.”
Lawson finished with 18 points, six rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Sanford added 13 points and Marissa Munsell also scored in double figures with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Jessica Hudson-Turpin pitched in with seven points but it was her steal and layup with 1:15 left that clinched the win for the Lions.