NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Springfield Tigers girls basketball team started a new era in their program as John Matisi won his opening game at the helm for the Tigers. The Tigers led from the opening tip-off to the final buzzer as they won 59-31 over the Crestview Rebels.

The Rebels drop to 0-3 on the season with the loss.

“We just got run off the floor tonight,” Rebels coach Aaron Blatch admitted.  “There is no other way to put it.  We knew it was going to be up and down.  We had a good feel and they didn’t do anything to surprise us.  They certainly executed better than we did.”

The Tigers were led by their junior forward Jacey Mullen as she recorded a game-high 26 points.  The Tigers other tall junior forward Madison Lesnak added 10 points to help pace the Tigers on the night.  Mullen would also grab 8 rebounds while Lesnak had 7.

“We are doing things a little differently,” Matisi said.  “They did some of the same things last year, but it has been an adjustment going from last year to this year.  And for being Division IV, and the league we’re in, we are going to be one of the biggest teams around.  So we are going to play that kind of game where we pound it inside and go through the middle.”

“It’s a lot different from last year,” Mullen remarked.  “We use to sit around a lot, but now it’s one-hundred percent, and we have kids that can go the whole game and we have subs.  It is a big change for everybody, but it’s a good change.”

The Tigers jumped out to a 15-9 lead at the end of the first quarter before they began to pull away from the Rebels.  They would double-up the Rebels 24-12 at the 4:11 mark of the second quarter when Mullen converted a rebound into a quick bucket.

“This was our first game. We did okay for the most part.  The first quarter we were kind of running around like chickens with our heads cut off,” Matisi said.  “Once we got it figured out, I feel like it went pretty well.”

The Tigers would once again double the Rebels at 28-14 when Mariana Tuscano knocked down a long jumper from the left top of the key with only 1:12 remaining before the intermission.  They would end up going into the halftime locker rooms with a 28-16 advantage.

The Tigers would extend their lead in the second half as they held an 18-point, 40-22 advantage at the 3:39 mark of the third period when Lesnak converted a bucket and foul shot.  Mullen would add a layup following a Rebels turnover just a minute later to increase the Tigers’ lead to 22 at 44-22.  They would close the frame with a 46-26 advantage.

The Rebels were not able to cut into the deficit as the Tigers outscored the Rebels 13-5 in the final period to account for the 28-point, 59-31 final score.

“We have good leadership on our team, but on the floor, we are kind of looking for someone to calm us down.  I think the game is moving very fast for us right now,” Blatch remarked.  “We feel like we are being pressured even when maybe were truly not. So we are making some rough decisions.”

McKenna Schultz and Luvrain Gaskins both led the Rebels on the night with 9 points apiece.  Gaskins would also yank down 6 rebounds to lead the Rebels on the boards.

The Rebels will enjoy their home opener this Thursday when they entertain Lowellville.  The Tigers will also play on Thursday when they travel to Liberty.