BEAVER TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) – The South Range Raiders are starting to get used to playing in District Championships.  On Saturday the top-seeded Raiders knocked off the third-seeded Brookfield Warriors 41-30 to advance in the Division III girls basketball tournament.

“We have kind of set the standard now that this is the game we want to be in every year as a program.  Everyone has talked about covid and adversity, and we have dealt with covid, shutdowns, and some serious injuries.  We probably had more adversity than any team around here, and for us to get through that and be able to cut the nets down on our home court is something these girls will never forget.  I’m super proud of them,” Raiders coach Jeff Fishel remarked.

“It’s big winning three out of four District’s throughout your high school career.  I’m really excited for myself, Bree (Kohler), and Soph (Sophia Lowery).  I’m ready to go on Tuesday,” Raiders senior forward Izzy Lamparty added.

The Raiders, who improve to 22-4 will now face fourth-seeded Warrenville Heights at Cuyahoga Falls High School Tuesday at 6:16 PM.  This marks the second year in a row that the Raiders have advanced to Regionals.

Lamparty would score a game-high 16 points, 13 of them in the second half, while grabbing 12 rebounds.  Mallory Vidman would add 9 points, and Lexi Giles 7 in the Raider’s scoring effort.

“It was frustrating starting out.  I really couldn’t get any shots to fall,” Lamparty remarked.  “But I think I did pretty good going through the game.  At halftime, he (Fishel) was yelling at us trying to motivate us.  We came out and did a really good job.”

“She’s a beast,” Warriors coach Ken Forsythe remarked about Lamparty.  “We didn’t have anybody that could match up with her.  We did our best on her.  I don’t know how many points she had, but it didn’t seem like a lot.”

The Raider’s defense proved to be the deciding factor in the game, especially in the final three and half minutes when they held the Warriors scoreless.   Meanwhile, the Raiders went on a 7-0 run to pull out the 9-point final margin victory.

The Raiders looked like they were going to run away with the game early as they jumped out to a 7-0 lead.  But the Warriors showed their mettle by battling back and cutting the deficit down to 7-6 at the end of the first frame.

The Warriors would continue to ride their momentum in the second stanza as they used a 5-2 run to grab their only lead of the game at 11-9 midway through the second quarter.  But the Raiders responded with a 7-0 run to close the half and take a 16-11 lead into the intermission.

The Warriors closed the deficit down to just a single point at 18-17 early in the third quarter before the Raiders once again responded with a run.  This time the Raiders went on a 10-0 run with Lamparty knocking down a jumper at the 2:17 mark of the third quarter.  That gave the Raiders a game-high 11-point lead at 28-17.  However, the Warriors Sophia Hook nailed a three at the buzzer to cut the Raider’s lead down to 28-22 at the end of the third period.

The Warriors would whittle down the Raiders lead to just 4 at 34-30 with 4:17 remaining on a basket by Audrey Readon.  But that is when the Raiders took advantage of two back door layups by Emma Cunningham to close the game with a 7-0 run and seal the victory.

“We battled them for four quarters in my eyes. I’m not going to take anything away from our girls.  They (South Range) have a great team.  For us to battle with them for four quarters is a great accomplishment,” Forsythe remarked.

The Warriors were led by the trio of Katie Logan with 9 points, Audrey Readon with 8, and Sophia Hook with 7.  Hook would also grab 6 caroms to lead the Warriors on the boards.

“We had a great season,” Forsythe reflected on the Warriors 18-4 final record and District runner-up finish.  “We’re so young still.  I start three sophomores, a junior, and one senior.  It will be a work in progress again this summer.  I told the girls that we have to take the next step for next year, and that is going to start this spring and summer.”