Devils can’t stop Clips

LISBON — Need an example of great tradition? Just ask the Columbiana High School girls basketball team.

The Clippers captured a share of their sixth straight league title with a 60-45 Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference triumph over rival Lisbon during a girl-boy doubleheader Friday night at Nace Gymnasium.

“We came in to the season and we knew we wanted to continue the winning tradition,” Columbiana coach Dave Crismon said. “We knew there was solid talent there, it was just a matter of how soon they responded to me (as their new coach) and got used to doing a few things a little different. I don’t believe in fixing things that aren’t broken.”

Columbiana improves to 12-3 overall and 11-0 in the EOAC. Lisbon is 10-5 and 8-3 in conference play. The Clippers can wrap up sole possession of the EOAC title at Toronto on Thursday.

“It is definitely a goal we’ve had,” Columbiana junior Kayla Muslovski said. “It (winning the conference) feels amazing. It’s indescribable. It’s a great accomplishment and brings us closer together as a team.”

The key to Friday’s win occurred early as the Clippers roared out to a 23-3 lead after the first quarter, led by junior guard Kayla Muslovski who scored 12 of her 23 points in the opening frame. Her first-quarter points included a trio of three-pointers.

“I knew Columbiana was a good-shooting team but they came out on fire,” Lisbon coach Jamie Entrikin said. “They rotated the ball very well. We’ve played zone all year pretty much and move very well in it but they (the Clippers) moved the ball even better than that and they hit their shots given their opportunities.”

Columbiana placed two players in double figures, led by forward Kennedy Fullum who had a great game with 26 points, including 17 in the second half, while Muslovski scored 23, with 19 coming in the opening half.

Lisbon was paced by guard Chloe Smith with 14 points. Point guard Izzy Perez had 11 points and Maddie Liberati added nine points.

The Clippers’ swarming defensive pressure forced 12 first-quarter turnovers out of the Blue Devils, many of which ended up in fastbreak points. The Blue Devils had 30 turnovers in the game to 13 for the Clippers.

“We knew we had to come out and play our best because we knew they (the Blue Devils) wanted it too and we just had to want it more I guess,” said Muslovski.

Lisbon turned up its intensity after the first quarter and actually outscored the Clippers 39-37 over the final three quarters, but found itself chasing Columbiana and the scoreboard the rest of the game and could never climb out of the 20-point first-quarter deficit.

“It (the first quarter) was key,” said Crismon. “We talked about that, it’s one of those cliches but you want to come out and (control tempo) right away and establish yourself.”

Lisbon played even in the second quarter, outscoring the Clippers 13-12 in the frame to trail 32-16 at intermission and 47-27 after three quarters.

“We couldn’t stop the bleeding until we went man-to-man and that helped us a ton but give them credit,” Entrikin said. “They got the lead and didn’t give it up.”

The Blue Devils got as close as 13 points (40-27) following a layup by the Blue Devils’ Cadee Johnson with 2:11 showing in the third quarter.

“I’m real proud of my girls because they didn’t quit playing, they played hard and battled through it and they can walk out of here with their heads up,” said Entrikin.

Lisbon outscored the hosts 16-13 in the final frame to close out the game and grab a piece of the EOAC crown.

“We got a little sloppy, a little careless and a little tired (in the middle quarters),” said Crismon. “But we made foul shots down the stretch and started taking care of the ball better and I liked what I saw in the fourth quarter.”

Game notes

¯ Columbiana won yet another league crown this season despite losing some continuity in the coaching hierarchy of the program from last season.

Coach Ron Moschella and the Columbiana school board agreed to part ways after last season and he was replaced this season by Crismon. But the transition to a new system has been seamless and the Clippers’ success on the hardwood has continued.

“They (the players) do a lot of the things they’ve always done and I’m real proud of them,” said Crismon. “It’s a tribute to them because they bought in (to a new head coach) and now our goals are just trying to get better and better leading into tournament play because we play in a brutal Division III tournament.”

¯ The Clippers completed a season sweep of Lisbon, having defeated the Blue Devils 54-35 in their first meeting at Columbiana on Dec. 10.

¯ Columbiana returns to action Monday when it travels to Jackson-Milton to face the Bluejays.

Lisbon will host the Leetonia Bears next Thursday.

COLUMBIANA: 23- 9-15-13–60

LISBON: 3-13-13-16–45

COLUMBIANA SCORING: Tori Long 1-0-2, Karissa Tringhese 1-0-3, Kayla Muslovski 5-10-23, Tessa Liggett 1-2-4, Grace Hammond 1-0-2, Grace Witmer 0-0-0, Kennedy Fullum 9-7-26, Tomi Ross 0-0-0, Maddison Moser 0-0-0, Morgan Dunlap 0-0-0, Sierra Macklin 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 18, 19-24: 60.

LISBON SCORING: Izzy Perez 2-6-11, Cadee Johnson 3-0-6, Chloe Smith 5-2-14, Callie Steed 1-1-3, Katie Haifley 0-0-0, Katie Clark 0-0-0, Justyce Vrable 0-0-0, Maddie Liberati 4-1-9, Corinne Freeman 1-0-2, Parker Henthorne 0-0-0, Madison Haifley 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 16, 10-17: 45.

Three-point goals: Columbiana 5 (Kayla Muslovski 3, Karissa Tringhese, Kennedy Fullum), Lisbon 3 (Chloe Smith 2, Izzy Perez).