Even after two regular season losses to Cuyahoga Heights, Beachwood’s girls’ basketball team was confident it could knock off the Redskins in the Cleveland Division III district semifinals on Thursday at St. Joseph Academy.
That confidence showed as the Bison pulled out a 37-35 victory and advanced to the district championship game for the first time in school history.
The team will play Gilmour Academy at St. Joseph Acaemy Saturday at 1 p.m.
“We came out with a plan and the kids followed it to a ‘T,’” said Beachwood head coach Mike Coreno. “The kids did a very good job with clock management, taking care of the ball—we had limited turnovers today—and we just hung tough.”
The Redskins led 7-4 after the first quarter but Beachwood created some scoring opportunities in the second quarter and led 15-11 at the break.
Defensive adjustments played a role in that second quarter run.
“We were playing some good defense,” Coreno said. “Our first two sets defensively we gave up like five offensive rebounds. They were just putting up shot after shot. In the second quarter we put more pressure on them—we played a zone the whole game. We tried to take the ball out of (Jenna) Stegmaier’s hands and it worked.”
Stegmaier entered the game averaging nearly 20 points per game and recorded 30 and 23 points in Cuyahoga Heights’ regular season victories over Beachwood. She ended the contest with just 12 points.
Shutting down Stegmaier was just part of Coreno’s game plan. He also hoped to keep Cuyahoga Heights under 40 points.
“We preached all week, I told them we had to keep that team out of the 40’s and we held them to 35,” Coreno said. “It was just a great defensive team effort. Everybody contributed.”
“Terrina Robinson was a monster tonight,” Coreno said. “She was a big leader. In the other two games they put Stegmaier on Mikah, which puts us at a disadvantage because you have (5-foot-10) versus 5-5. It’s not that (Aldridge) can’t get around Stegmaier, but it’s hard to get to the rack when you’re playing against a bigger player.”
That’s where Robinson stepped in.
She handled many of Aldridge’s point guard duties and took advantage of her scoring opportunities.
Christina Oden also drew her coach’s praise.
“She was a monster on the boards,” Coreno said. “She played a real good game. I think she had about a dozen rebounds. Every time I turned around she was cleaning the glass. She did a great job.”
The two teams played even in the third quarter and the Redskins nearly tied the game at the buzzer.
“Stegmaier got a jump shot off from the elbow with four seconds left,” Coreno said. “It hit the rim but she didn’t miss by much. The girls, they were pumped. They’re excited.”
Beachwood advanced to play top-seed Gilmour Academy for the right to advance to the regional tournament.
Gilmour beat Lutheran West, 48-40, in the district semifinal.
“We’ve got a good chance,” Coreno said. “I told the kids to go home, ice, rest and we’ll shoot around a little bit tomorrow. It’s tough to turn around and play again in 36 hours.”
The Bison are now 21-2 on the season and continue to add to their school-best victory total.