By MATT NYE
for The Courier
Getting off to a fast start is always nice, especially while playing on the road.
Elmwood set the tone against Fostoria Thursday night with five 3-pointers in the first quarter and went to a 53-38 win in Northern Buckeye Conference play.
The Royals raced out to a 32-17 halftime lead and fought off an Fostoria rally in the second half on their way to improving to 11-4 overall and 9-0 in the NBC.
Courtney Emmitt led the Royals with 13 points, while Kristen Curtis tallied 11 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Tiffany Hillard and Marissa Swavel each added nine points for Elmwood, which outrebounded Fostoria 32-18 and made 19 of 29 from the free throw line compared to just 1 of 3 for the Redmen.
“A big key for us tonight was us coming out and hitting shots,” Elmwood coach Doug Reynolds said.
“Courtney Emmitt got hot early and then Kristen Curtis did and we built that 17-point lead, and that really helped. Fostoria really gets after you and defends. They pressure and they are quicker than we are, so we had to make some changes defensively, but they made some shots to cut our lead to 10 late.”
Erica Moore led Fostoria (1-13, 0-9) with 11 points and three assists, while Olivia Valenti chipped in nine points.
Elmwood was on fire in the first quarter with Emmitt popping in eight points, including a pair of treys in the first three minutes of the contest.
Right after Emmitt drained her shots, Curtis connected on two consecutive 3-pointers that created a 17-5 lead with 2:32 left in the quarter. Swavel made a 3 with 7.1 seconds left on the clock that upped Elmwood’s lead to 22-9 after one period.
Fostoria fought back in the second quarter, but was outscored 10-8.
“Tiffany Hillard has been playing really well lately,” Reynolds said. “She does all the little things that you need. She is really coming on down the stretch, which is really important because everyone knows who our scorers are and for her to chip in points is big.
“We are just taking it one game at a time and I’m really impressed with how we are playing defense. Of course, we had some breakdowns, but overall to limit a team to 38 points is a good defensive game. We had other kids step up and score tonight, and that is what you need.”
After a quick 5-0 burst to begin the second half, the Royals gained their biggest lead at 37-17. Fostoria came right back and ended the quarter with an 8-4 spurt fueled by four points from Moore.
In the middle of the fourth quarter, Moore scored five consecutive points that cut Elmwood’s lead to 43-33 with 3:33 left in the game. That, however, was as close as Fostoria got, as Swavel cashed in on 6 of 8 free throws down the stretch.
Fostoria head coach J.T. Bates was not at the game, with his wife, Kelly, delivering a baby Thursday night. Assistant coach Clayton Moore took the helm, and he liked his team’s effort and its will to not give up.
“Defensively, I was really pleased with our girls tonight,” Moore said. “We played really well defensively — just didn’t get any shots to drop on the offensive end. We missed, like, eight layups just in the first quarter. If we’d started to make some shots things could’ve been different.
“Our effort was awesome. They could have given up when we were down, but they stepped up and played the whole game. They came out the second half with excitement and they just played the whole game tonight.”
Sam Ervin pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds for the Royals, while Alexus Smith recorded six rebounds and three steals for the Lady Red.
elmwood (11-4, 9-0)
Sears 0-0–0, Hillard 2-5–9, Curtis 3-3–11, Veryser 1-0–2, Swavel 1-6–9, Harvey 1-1–3, Emmitt 5-0–13, Ervin 1-4–6. TOTALS: 14-38 19-29 — 53.
fostoria (1-13, 0-9)
Moore 5-0–11, Fretz 0-0–0, Hampton 3-0–7, Velazquez 2-0–4, Valenti 4-0–9, Williams 3-0–6, Smith 0-1–1, Pedersen 0-0–0. TOTALS: 17-50 1-3 — 38.
Elmwood 22 10 9 12 — 53
Fostoria 9 8 8 13 — 38
3-Point GOALS: Elmwood 6-12 (Emmitt 3, Curtis 2, Swavel); Fostoria 3-12 (Hampton, Moore, Valenti).
REBOUNDS: Elmwood 32 (Ervin 10); Fostoria 18 (Smith 6).
TURNOVERS: Elmwood 19; Fostoria 15.
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