Cleveland Heights Girls' Basketball Team Falls Short to Shaker Heights 49-47
Tigers give the Raiders a good run on Shaker's home court
A slice of victory cake on Senior Night certainly tasted sweet to the Shaker Heights girls’ basketball team, but Cleveland Heights made sure the Raiders had a healthy serving of vegetables first.
The Tigers pushed the one-loss Raiders to the brink on Wednesday night, scaring them on their home floor as they escaped with a 49-47 victory and swept the regular season series between them in a tightly contested rivalry game.
Cleveland Heights guard Ra’chel Walton had two chances to either tie or win the game with seconds remaining, but she air-balled a jumper from the right wing, and a half-court heave at the buzzer couldn’t find the rim.
Cleveland Heights fell to 7-9 and missed a chance to pull even on the season. The Tigers are 4-4 in the Lake Erie League, while Shaker Heights improved to 12-1 overall and 6-0 in the LEL in winning their last home game of the season.
Tigers Coach Kim Hansen took the loss in stride. After all, the Raiders are widely considered to be among the best teams in the area with a No. 2 ranking in the Plain Dealer’s girls’ basketball poll. Hansen took some pride in the team’s near-upset.
"I’m very proud of our girls. We started out slow, but right now, we’re coming together and we’re a good team," Hansen said. "I was the most happiest with our defense and our rebounding. We battled them. Offensively, if you get a couple of shots to drop that didn’t drop, it’s a different game, but that’s what happens in big games. We’re certainly not hanging our heads."
Shaker Heights Coach Mike Coreno doesn’t believe the Tigers’ nine-loss record accurately reflects the team’s quality. After all, the Tigers had won six of their last eight games heading into the contest and their win against highly-regarded Warren G. Harding on Saturday caught his attention.
"That’s a real good nine-loss team. We played two games against them, and three of the four halves were tight," Coreno said of their earlier 86-60 win over the Tigers. "We had a good second half against them at Cleveland Heights, but that’s about it. ... It’s a good nine-loss team."
The nip-and-tuck nature of the fourth quarter did nothing to dispel his perception.
With the game tied, 39-39, after three quarters, the Raiders grabbed their largest lead of the quarter on Shelby Stokes’ jumper at 2:16 for a 49-44 edge.
Supriya Frierson made a pair of free throws and Daychelle Thomas made one of two at the line at 1:05 for the game’s final points.
With just under a minute remaining, Cleveland Heights had several chances to draw closer but couldn’t capitalize as Jasmine Harper missed an inside shot. Larissa Davis dove for a steal on an inbounds pass, but the ball grazed her fingers as Shaker Heights’ Chyress Lockhart collected the ball and got fouled at mid-court with 22.6 seconds left.
Lockhart missed the front end of a 1-and-1 giving the Tigers another chance, but Walton’s jumper missed everything with 11 seconds remaining, and Stokes got fouled on the rebound. Stokes missed another 1-and-1 for the Raiders which gave the Tigers the ball back with 4.8 seconds left. Walton took an inbounds pass from Davis, dribbled to half-court and missed the long throw to the bucket.
"I didn’t take my time on the shot. I just rushed it. I just didn’t take my time," Walton said of her jumper from the wing. "I could have taken my time for the and-1. I could have taken it in and gotten fouled and made both of my free throws."
The Tigers jumped out to a 10-6 edge in the first quarter for its largest lead of the game. The Raiders quickly rallied with a 9-2 run over the final three minutes to regain the lead, 15-12, at quarter’s end. The Raiders secured their largest lead of the game at 30-20 with less than 30 seconds left in the second quarter, but Chelsea Hicks’ three-pointer at the buzzer cut the Raiders’ lead to seven.
Hicks’ score seemed to give the Tigers life as Walton’s steal and layup capped a 10-2 run to regain the lead, 33-32, at 4:45 of the third quarter. After a Monteya Ford free throw tied the game, Walton’s jumper gave Cleveland Heights its final lead of the game at 35-33 at 4:25.
The Tigers host Shaw High School on Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Cleveland Heights 47
Shaker Heights 49
CHHS 12 11 16 8 47
SHHS 15 15 9 10 49
Cleveland Heights: Jasmine Harper 15 points, Ra’chel Walton 10, Supriya Frierson 8, Daychelle Thomas 5, Chelsea Hicks 5, Larissa Davis 2, Arion Jackson 2.
Shaker Heights: Jordyn Peck 20 points, Shelby Stokes 10, Chyress Lockhart 8, Briana Gibbs 4, T.K. Harden 4, Monteya Ford 3.