Royals fall to Chieftains, 35-23

BLOOMDALE — Former Elmwood basketball coach Doug Reynolds may have retired last year, but he has certainly left his mark.

Eastwood first-year girls basketball coach Brittany Butler is Reynolds’ niece, and Elmwood first-year girls coach Jason Barringer served as Reynolds’ assistant for eight years before taking the helm.

Both are Elmwood graduates — Barringer graduating in 1996 and Butler in 2013.

Thursday, Barringer’s team had its work cut out, hosting Hopewell-Loudon, which was state runners-up in 1998 and won a state championship in 1999 under, who else, but Reynolds at the helm.

H-L sophomore wing Olivia Bishop scored a game-high 11 points as the Chieftains improved to 4-1 by holding off Elmwood, 35-23.

“Give Hopewell all the credit,” Barringer said. “They brought it, they are aggressive, and we knew that on film.

“We just have to execute better offensively. We had too many turnovers and we don’t rebound particularly well.”

The taller Chieftains had a huge 43-18 advantage off the glass, including 23 off the offensive boards.

In a game that saw 47 turnovers, Elmwood had 20 turnovers, while they forced the Chieftains into 27. H-L coach Steve Suter credited Elmwood’s defense for making it difficult for his team to score.

“It really was a mess. They make it hard for you to play,” Suter said. “They’re aggressive defensively and we didn’t handle things as well offensively as we probably could or should.”

For the Royals, senior post Cara Frank had nine points, seven rebounds, two steals and two assists, but got into foul trouble early in the game and missed a lot of playing time.

Frank was whistled for her third foul with 6:35 remaining in the first half, and her fourth with 1:10 left in the third quarter.

“She picked up her third foul so we had to sit her more than we would have liked to,” Barringer said. “She’s obviously a key player for us.”

The Royals still stayed within striking distance. Elmwood sophomore Madi Lee and junior Kate Keiffer scored on transition layups to start the fourth quarter, closing the gap to six, 24-18, with 6:40 remaining in the game.

However, the Chieftains stretched the lead to 12 by the game’s end, mostly by converting at the free throw line.

“We made a little run at them in the fourth quarter,” Barringer said. “We were able to deny and get into their gaps a little bit.”

Elmwood freshman McKenzie Laird scored five points, senior Anna Meyer scored four points, sophomore Madi Lee scored three points, and junior Brynn Laugherty added two points.

The Royals shot just 19% (7-for-36) from the field, including making 6-for-20 (30%) from inside the arc, just 1-of-16 from three-point territory and they made six of eight free throw attempts.

H-L was 11-for-42 (26%) from the field and made 11-of-24 free throws (46%). Elmwood junior Kate Keiffer did not score but had four steals for the Royals’ defense.

For H-L, senior guard Ashley Daniel scored nine points, junior post Carley Coffman scored six, junior wing Isabelle Beidelschies scored four, junior guard Kylee Malagon and junior wing Anna Daniel scored two apiece, and sophomore guard Sidney Bricker added one point.

“We are trying to get back into the swing of things,” Suter said. “We have had some sickness and we’ve had some injuries.

“We’re trying to figure out the rotation and get back into some sort of continuity, which is something that is going to be tough here,” Suter continued.

The Royals fall to 2-4 on the season, and even though they are 2-1 in the Northern Buckeye Conference they are already chasing league leaders Fostoria (6-0, 3-0) and Woodmore (5-1, 3-0).

“Our No. 1 goal is just to get better at this point,” Barringer said. “We put ourselves in position to win games late and that is our main goal. We’re still searching for players who are going to be productive.”

“We have goals obviously competing in the league, but those two teams (Fostoria, Woodmore) are playing well right now.”