Toronto falls apart in second half, still winless at home

TORONTO — The United girls basketball team led Toronto by four points at halftime, but the Golden Eagles outscored Toronto by 19 in the third quarter and never looked back in their 62-39 victory in an Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference matchup Thursday inside in the George J. Kunzler Memorial Gymnasium.

“Nothing really changed in the second half,” Toronto (1-2) head coach Rusty Hodgkiss said. “They were quicker to the ball than us throughout the course of the night. They ran up and down the floor. The 50/50 balls, they got them all, so they really weren’t 50/50 balls. They just ran us out of our own gym.”

United limited Toronto to two field goals in the second half.

“We had a little talk at halftime,” United (2-2) head coach Terry Kellison said. “We were not playing well on defense. They have some good athletes. They were attacking the basket. We talked about cleaning things up on defense. We were not playing well on defense. We did a better job in the second half.

“The first half was our best half of anything. It was our best half of offense. We found people, and we were making our shots. We have struggled to score. Our offense came together, but the bad part of that was we were up by just four.”

Three players scored in double digits for the Golden Eagles. Celeste Hofmeister tallied a game-high 18 points to lead the way, while Loren Swords delivered 14 points and Hannah Mix collected 11. Swords scored 10 of her points in the decisive third quarter.

“I had no idea what to expect,” Hodgkiss said. “I intently watched the JV game to see what they do, and the JV game mirrored the varsity game. They attacked the basket.”

Gina Fogle finished with a team-high 14 points to lead the way for the Red Knights, while Maddie Anderson delivered eight.

“I did not know what to expect,” Kellison said. “I saw some things in the paper. I saw one young lady (Bianca McDonald) scored 25 points the other night, so we were aware of her. They have an excellent point guard (Fogle). She did what she wanted to do in the first half. She was able to drive. We did not stop the ball.”

Both teams scored four points in the fourth quarter.

“I met their first coach for the first time tonight,” Kellison said. “He is doing a great job.”

United doubled up the Red Knights four times in the first quarter — 4-2, 10-5, 12-6 and 16-8. The Golden Eagles ended up leading 19-15 after the first quarter.

“We were patient, and we ran a coherent offense in the first half,” Hodgkiss said. “We made some shots. They just outworked us. One of the officials told me we were real close to getting a lot of the loose balls, but we didn’t get them.”

The game continued to be close in the second quarter. The Red Knights got as close as one, while the Golden Eagles led by as many as eight. United led 36-32 at halftime.

“Our shots fell,” Kellison said. “We executed. We were patient. We pushed the ball. The first half was like a track meet. It was fun to watch. We were making shots. Track meets like that our fun when you are making your shots, but they aren’t fun when you aren’t making your shots. Fortunately, we were making our shots.”

United outrebounded Toronto, 48-32. Molly Briceland delivered 10 rebounds to lead the way for the Golden Eagles. Anderson grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Red Knights.

“The first half was fun,” Hodgkiss said. “It was good basketball. They did a good job on the offensive glass. We did not keep them off of the glass. In the first half, they hurt us on the offensive boards.”

Toronto committed 25 turnovers, while United committed 20.

Toronto is scheduled to play tonight at Oak Glen. Meanwhile, United is scheduled to play Monday at home against EOAC rival Leetonia.

United 62, Toronto 39

United 19-17-22-4 — 62

Toronto 15-17-3-4 — 39

UNITED (2-2): Pierson 2 0-0 5, Swords 7 0-0 14, Mol. Briceland 3 0-1 6, Ky. Daggy 0 0-0 0, Powers 1 0-0 2, Ke. Daggy 0 0-0 0, Mor. Briceland 1 0-0 2, Hill 2 0-0 4, Mix 5 1-3 11, Hofmeister 8 1-2 18, Cooper 0 0-2 0. TOTALS: 29, 2-8: 62. 3-Pointers: 2 (Pierson, Hofmeister).

TORONTO (1-2): Thomas 0 0-0 0, Jordan 2 1-2 6, McDonald 0 0-0 0, Anderson 4 0-2 8, Swearingen 0 0-0 0, Yarosz 0 0-0 0, Taggart 1 2-4 5, Roach 1 0-0 3, Smith 0 1-2 1, Fogle 5 3-5 14, Leasure 0 1-2 1, Kinsey 0 1-2 1, Cottrell 0 0-1 0, Beckwith 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 12, 9-20: 39.

REBOUNDS: United 48 (Mol. Briceland 10); Toronto 32 (Anderson 8). TURNOVERS: United 20; Toronto 25.