Muslovski leads the Clippers past league rival East Palestine


The Clippers improve to 15-3 on the season with a decisive victory over the Bulldogs

EAST PALESTINE, OHIO (WKBN) – Led by standout senior guard Kayla Muslovski and her 36 game-high points, the Columbiana Clippers bombed the East Palestine Bulldogs Monday night 75-33.  The win improves the Clippers to 15-3 on the season, 11-0 in the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference.  The Bulldogs drop to 10-7, 6-4 in the league.

“Honestly, East Palestine is a big rival for us,” Muslovski remarked.  “They always give us a hard game and they have always been tough competition between us so we knew we wanted to beat them tonight.  We wanted to do it aggressively and score big numbers.”

“Coming over here (East Palestine) is always a tough place to play,” Clippers coach David Crimson added.  “When you can play well on the road, to me, that says something about your kids.  It’s a character builder for me.”

Muslovski finished the night 10-points shy of her record-setting 46 point total, while Grace Witmer added 10 in the Clippers strong showing.  Karissa Tringhese led the Clippers on the boards with 9  rebounds while Grace Hammond pulled down 7 caroms.

“She’s a total package,” Crimson said of his standout point guard Muslovski.  “She can handle the ball, can break people down.   If you don’t come out on her she will hit a three.  And she’s getting better at finding other people too.  So she is a much better passer than people give her credit for.”

He continued, “When she’s on like that, and I can tell.  I can see it in her face.  She was feeling it tonight.  She kind of carried us in the first two quarters to get us going and then she hit some big buckets late in the third.”

The Clippers grabbed the early momentum and pulled out to a 15-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.  They would go on a 15-6 run to start the second period, leading 30-14 midway through the frame.  But that is when the Bulldogs made a run at the Clippers as they put together a 9-2 run to close the margin down to just 9-points at 32-23 with 1:28 remaining in the first half.  However, the Clippers would close the half with a 6-0 run to hold a 38-23 lead at intermission, highlighted by a basket by Grace Witmer at the buzzer.

The Clippers continued their run to start the second half as they put together a 9-0 run to lead by 24 at 47-23 at the 5:16 mark following another basket by Witmer.  The Clippers defense really took control of the game in the second half as they forced the Bulldogs into 14 second-half turnovers.  The Clippers would lead 58-31 at the end of the third period, and then they would hold the Bulldogs to just 3 points in the fourth and final period.

“Our girls kind of feed on that,” Crimson said of the Clippers defensive effort.  “We can get in passing lanes and when we get steals we’re always looking for each other down the floor.  That’s a huge part of our game, and once we can open that transition up and get down the floor.  It’s just so deflating when you turn the ball over and it turns into a layup on the other end.”

“That was huge!  That’s what threw us over, to get the steals and get the easy lay-ups.  We knew we had to play intense defense,” Muslovski said of the Clipper’s ability to convert miscues into pints in the second half.

Junior forward Morgan Rutledge led the Bulldogs in scoring on the night with 12 points.  Payton Sherry and Paige Snyder each had 5 rebounds to pace the Bulldogs on the boards.

“We have to see what we didn’t do well, fix it, and build on it.  We still have time to fix some things.  We will take this one and use it as a learning tool and go work from here,” Bulldogs coach Will Franklin said.

Up next for the Clippers is their final league contest Thursday night when they travel to Southern Local.  The Bulldogs wrap up league play Wednesday night at home against Southern, followed by a road contest at Lisbon Thursday night.

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