Blackbirds knock off Eagles, 50-26

By Joe Blystone - For the Expositor

After a spring rain, Blackbirds swarm all over the green grass searching for food.

Blackbirds in Pettisville swarm all over loose basketballs and opponent’s passes, looking for transition baskets off turnovers.

Those above mentioned Blackbirds looked like a Pittsburgh Steeler pass rush, swarming a Cleveland quarteback, forcing 12 Fayette turnovers in the first 10 minutes to take an 18-point lead, and coast to a 50-26 win over the Eagles Thursday in Buckeye Border Conference girls basketball.

“Defensively I thought the girls did a nice job,” longtime Blackbird mentor Jason Waldvogel explained. “I think that’s when we are good and we have fun when we bring that intensity and what we call ‘next up’, when we go out and defend and they know they have four people behind them to help out.”

Ellie Grieser’s 3-pointer 17 ticks into the game began an 11-0 blast out of the gate in the first three minutes.

Andrea Grimm was the first beneficiary of those Fayette errors, getting two easy baskets before Grieser hit on a baseline drive and then fed Olivia Miller for a layup to cap the run.

Nevaeh Powers’ floater got the Eagles off the goose egg but then the Blackbirds’ muscular senior, Leah Beck, began to enforce her presence inside.

Beck powered in a post move then hit Grieser on an inside-out game for a triple around four Grimm free throws for a 22-4 margin with 6:54 left in the half.

Freshman Addison Shang got back-to-back buckets for Fayette, but Beck answered back with four more hoops of her own off the blocks to increase the Pettisville lead to 34-8 at halftime.

“First of all we definitely had a size advantage we don’t usually get inside,” Waldvogel explained. “I thought Leah Beck did a nice job posting up and if we get it in to her we know we have the opportunity to score or for her to kick it out to shooters. I thought she did a great job all night.”

Shang and Beck traded two hoops each in the third before the Blackbirds used a seven point run in the fourth, concluded by two Lily Wiemken free throws with 1:26 left to take their biggest lead at 50-22.

Beck’s 17 points led all scorers while Grieser added 10.

Pettisville shot 20-46 from the field and had 16 turnovers, many of those late in the fourth.

Fayette coughed the ball up 23 times and only got off 28 shots, hitting 11.

By Joe Blystone

For the Expositor