Blue Devils keep rolling as they eye upcoming league and tournament test

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The Devils are focused on defense as they hope to advance even farther this year

BERLIN CENTER, OHIO (WKBN) – The Western Reserve girls’ basketball team has big goals for this season.  After being eliminated in the regionals last year, they hope to advance even farther this spring.

“We’re just trying to become a better all-around team,” Blue Devils senior Brook Morris said.  “We’re trying to work on what we need to fix to be able to get through McDonald and the tougher teams in the tournament to put ourselves in the same position as last year and get even farther.”

“We wanted to challenge ourselves with the schedule this year.  We got to play Cornerstone Christian, and we still have Columbiana and Struthers on the schedule.  And then another game with McDonald and of course Napoleon.  These are games that are preparing us for the tournament,” Devils coach Steve Miller remarked.

The Blue Devils took one more step toward their second big conference encounter with McDonald and fine-tuning for the tournaments with a lop-sided 88-24 win over the Lowellville Rockets Monday night.  The victory improves the Devils to 14-3 overall on the season, and 9-1 in the MVAC.

Danielle Vuletich scored a game-high 31 points with 13 rebounds to lead the Devils while Olivia Pater recorded 16 points, including 4 three-points.  Alyssa Serensky added 15 points on the night.  Kennedy Miller grabbed 7 rebounds while Brooke Morris hauled down 6 to help the Devils control the boards in the contest.

The Blue Devils led 26-3 at the end of the first quarter and held a 46-3 advantage at the intermission.  They would go one to hold a 65-9 lead at the end of the third quarter, but the Rockets kept fighting to the final buzzer, outscoring the 6-5 in the final few minutes of the contest.

“I like the way defensively we came out with our intensity tonight,” Miller stated.  “I think it was three points at halftime or something like that.  Then they (Lowellville) made some shots.  We’re going to hang our hat on defense.”

He continued, “Defense is consistency.  And if you get it done night in and night out, fundamentally being in position, communicating and jumping to the ball, boxing out and rebounding you’re going to have games where you throw it in.  We can also score this year.  So, with the ability to score and if the defense is consistent, it gives you a good chance.  Strong defensive teams always have an advantage come tournament time.”

“We’re trying to base our team off of more fundamentals and focusing on getting better,” Morris explained.  “From bouncing back from that big game (a lop-sided loss to Napolean last week), it really opened our eyes to understand what we need to work on as a team and individuals.”

Miller also has a lot of praise for his very special four senior players, “It’s a cliché to say this, but I’m going to miss these girls when they are gone.  I’ve been close with these girls since elementary school.  This is kind of my first group that I focused on.  These girls hold a special place in my heart and they are good kids.”

Those four seniors include Brooke, Alyssa Serensky, Laura Sigworth, and Emma Heater.  Heater is out with an injury that Miller admitted is hard on her to sit and watch the games.

The Rockets, who drop to 4-12 on the year, 1-10 in the MVAC were led by Samantha Moore with 7 points.  Francesca Lellio and Maliyah Heclrich each scored 6 points courtesy of two treys.

Coach Lisa Modelski is working on building positive energy with her extremely young team, “That’s the thing when you’re trying to get these girls to keep positive and then you hit team’s like this.   It’s difficult to keep positive.  But I told them to put this game in the rearview mirror.  End of our season has winnable games so we are just going to keep moving forward and get ready for tournament time.”

Both teams return to the court this Thursday as the Blue Devils host the Springfield Tigers while the Rockets will host the Sebring Trojans.

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