by Colin Harris | Reporter
Garrettsville -- Good, bad or ugly, James A. Garfield head girls basketball coach Aaron Gilbert will be the last person complaining about a game that ends with his team on the winning side.
Despite his team's sluggish performance during a narrow 37-35 Portage Trail Conference County Division victory over Streetsboro Jan. 4 in Garrettsville, Gilbert still found some satisfaction.
"With a young team like we have this season, I'll take a win any way we can get one," Gilbert said. "Give credit to Streetsboro as well, because they're a team that can really ugly up a game and throw you off of what you want to do."
"Ugly" would be a good way to describe the contest as the two teams combined for 41 turnovers and countless missed open looks around the basket.
By halftime, with offense hard to find, the Lady G-Men managed to establish a 16-13 lead.
Each team produced a double-figure quarter just once and it was Garfield's 13-point burst in the fourth quarter that proved to be the game's difference.
Trailing 28-24 to begin the final quarter, the Lady G-Men (6-5, 2-3) outscored Streetsboro (7-5, 2-3) 13-9 in the final eight minutes to rally back and ultimately take control of the game.
Garfield tied the Rockets with 2 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in regulation when guard Madisson Geddes split her free-throw attempts to even the score at 32-32.
Capitalizing on a Rockets' turnover on the other end, the G-Men took the lead for good when Becky Kirk knocked down a transition bucket to make it 34-32 with around two minutes remaining.
Kirk added to the lead with 1:22 remaining with a basket that gave the G-Men a 36-32 lead.
After trading turnovers on the next two possessions, Streetsboro cut into the lead with an Alison Targosky bucket with a minute left in the game. With Garfield leading 36-34, the Rockets had a chance to tie the game with 24.9 remaining, but a pair of missed free throws followed by a missed putback attempt on an offensive rebound left the opportunity empty.
Streetsboro's Marra Woods stepped to the line shortly thereafter and hit one of her two free throws to cut Garfield's lead to 36-35.
Lady G-Men forward Alicia Witte was fouled on the opposite end, hitting 1 of 2 foul shots to push her team's lead to 37-35.
Streetsboro still had two chances to tie. The Rockets were errant on a pair of clean looks near the basket before Kirk pulled down a rebound as time expired.
Shooting of any kind was a challenge for both teams, but missed shots in the paint and a 1-for-5 fourth-quarter effort at the foul line from Streetsboro was particularly damaging, said Rockets head coach Allison Carey.
"We had too many chances around the basket that we missed and we missed too many foul shots and that was the difference," she said. "We came into this overconfident and Garfield did exactly what they needed to do to win this game."
Freshman forward Grayson Rose finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Lady G-Men.
The Rockets were led by Woods, who finished with 12 points to go along with 13 rebounds.
Streetsboro is scheduled to host County Division rival Waterloo Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m. The Rockets are set to entertain County Division foe Rootstown Jan. 11 at 2:30 p.m.
Facebook: Colin Harris, Record-Courier