Crucial League Victory: Austintown Fitch Defeats Howland in Overtime Thriller

On Wednesday night, the atmosphere was electric as Austintown Fitch and Howland faced off in a thrilling senior night showdown. The two teams traded blows throughout the game, leaving fans on the edge of their seats. And when the dust finally settled, it was the Falcons who emerged victorious in an overtime thriller, clinching a crucial league victory with a final score of 54-50.

For Fitch coach Dan Horacek, this win was a much-needed change of pace after a three-game losing streak. He commended his team’s resilience and determination, stating, “This is a tough, hard-nosed team and we’ve been in a lot of tough games. They believe in each other and have coaches that believe in them.” The Falcons had previously suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss to Boardman, but Horacek reminded his players that they had the opportunity to right the ship and they did just that.

The game was a rollercoaster of emotions, with Fitch rallying back from a deficit they held for most of the game. Ayla Ray and Rachel Spalding led the charge with impressive performances, scoring 20 and 17 points respectively. Their efforts, combined with a crucial bucket from Destanie McCullough, propelled the Falcons into the lead. However, Howland refused to go down without a fight. Jessie DeSalvo was fouled and sent to the line, sinking one of two free throws to tie the game at 43-all.

As the game headed into overtime, tensions ran high. Unfortunately for the Tigers, a charge call in the opening seconds set the tone for what was to come. Howland struggled to regain their momentum after Alyssa Massucci’s bucket was waved off, allowing Fitch to take control and secure the victory.

Despite the outcome, Howland coach Aaron Pounds expressed his frustrations with the lack of consistency in refereeing, stating, “There needs to be more consistency in some way shape or form. The calls that were made tonight, we haven’t got calls like that all year long.” Nevertheless, Pounds acknowledged that his team needed to focus on improving and preparing for their upcoming game against Boardman.

For the Tigers, Mia Barrish, Alyssa Massucci, and Gia Hoso put up impressive numbers, scoring 11, 10, and 10 points respectively. Their efforts were not enough to secure the win, but there is still hope for redemption as they look ahead to their next game.

As for Fitch, they will be taking on West Branch in their next matchup. With the postseason rapidly approaching, their main goal is to refine their skills and continue to improve. Coach Horacek emphasized the importance of maintaining a one-game season mentality during the tournament, stating, “Everything now is a one-game season, so I couldn’t be prouder of the kids (for battling).”

This intense matchup served as the perfect test for both teams before the postseason. It highlighted areas of improvement and allowed them to fine-tune their strategies. And with a rematch scheduled for February 13th, fans can expect another thrilling showdown between these talented teams.

In conclusion, the senior night showdown between Austintown Fitch and Howland was a thrilling affair that kept spectators on the edge of their seats. The Falcons emerged victorious in an overtime thriller, showcasing their resilience and determination. Both teams now have valuable insights to take with them as they prepare for the upcoming postseason.