Podges wins 200th, Stow beats Kent

By Michael Leonard | Sports Editor Published:

Bob Podges has accomplished much in his career as Stow-Munroe Falls girls basketball coach.

But as he hit a major milestone in his coaching career Dec. 27, his players made it clear he's not just a coach.

Podges' players continued their perfect record out of conference last week.

First, the Bulldogs welcomed GlenOak Dec. 22 and gave the Eagles a rather rough Christmas present -- a 61-45 loss.

Then, Stow took on backyard rival Kent Roosevelt Dec. 27 in the opening round of the Tallmadge Holiday Invitational. It wasn't always pretty, but the Bulldogs took care of business 44-33.

As as result, Stow's record stood at 7-2 as of press time.

More importantly, the win marked the 200th victory of Podges head coaching career.

"It was a very rewarding night for me," Podges said. "I'm glad I reached this with this group of players. This is a very good group of girls. They're very coachable."

Stow's players presented Podges with a signed T-shirt with "200" on the back after the game.

Stow was set to fact Tallmadge in the championship game of the Tallmadge Holiday Tournament Dec. 28, but results were not available at press time. The Blue Devils defeated Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy 60-30 in the other first round game Dec. 27.

Against the Rough Riders, Stow played an excellent game defensively, limiting Kent to just one field goal in the second and third quarter.

Offense, however, was another matter.

"Our defense as really good tonight," Podges said. "We took a lot of good shots tonight, but they just didn't fall. [Forward] Danielle [Tiller] must have had about five shots tonight that hit everything but down."

Podges attributed the Bulldogs' shooting troubles to the fact his team hadn't been able to have a full practice since the previous Friday, due to the holidays and bad weather.

Roosevelt coach Craig Foreman said his team was in the same boats and felt out of sync most of the night.

Roosevelt started well, thanks to the shooting of Jenn Doershuk.

Doershuk nailed a trio of three-point shots in the first quarter, helping Roosevelt take a 12-8 lead after eight minutes.

However, Doershuk didn't hit another basket in the game.

The Rough Riders also benefited from the fact Stow seemed to have a lid on the basket during long stretches of the first half.

A backdoor layup from forward Libby Bradford pushed the lead to 14-10 with about five minutes left in the second quarter.

Unfortunately for the Rough Riders, those would be their only points in the second quarter.

Stow guard Sam Shaver, who did not start as she was feeling ill, spurred a 9-0 run to end the first half. Stow's offense still wasn't humming, but the Bulldogs took a lead of 19-14 at half time.

The Bulldogs hit the accelerator to start the second half on a 5-0 run, pushing the lead to 24-14 before their shooting woes returned.

Roosevelt couldn't take advantage, however, as a putback layup from Megan Thomas at the four-minute mark and a free throw from Justin Fortson accounted for all Roosevelt's scoring in the quarter.

Up 30-17, Stow looked to put the game away, but again saw shots rimming out.

Despite this, Stow led by as many as 17 points midway through the fourth quarter.

Then the Rough Riders made things interesting.

Forward Courtney Olesh scored seven of her nine points in the fourth quarter, including a three-pointer with 1:33 that cut the least to 40-33.

Olesh also led the Rough Riders with 11 rebounds.

Foreman called time out after the basket, but that would be as close as the Rough Riders got, as Stow's defense clamped down in the final 90 seconds.

Stow guard Christina Vaughn led all scorers with 11 points, including three trifectas of her own.

Against the Eagles, Stow only led 15-13 after one quarter, but blew the game open by outscoring GlenOak 30-15 in the second and third quarter.

"We played pretty well," Podges said. "We scored 15, 15, 15 and 16 points in the quarters, so I was happy with the consistency."

Podges said the result was particularly pleasing, given that point guard Abbie Lawson was so ill she had to be taken to the hospital an hour before tip-off.

"She had been struggling all week," Podges said. "We moved Chrissy [Vaughn] to the point and she played pretty well. We shot really well all game long. I think we were 17-of-22 from the line and shot 55 percent from the field."

Stow got 13 points each from Sam Shaver and Tiller to lead the offense. Vaughn had eight points, including two three pointers.

In addition to their shooting edge, Stow finished with a 33-25 rebounding edge.

No Eagles reached double figures in the loss.

Up next, Stow returns to action in 2012 with a home game Jan. 3 against Massillon Jackson at 7 p.m. Then on Jan. 5, the Bulldogs face a crucial Valley Division trip to Solon at 7:30 p.m.

E-mail:mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone:330-541-9442

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