TC falls to Bellevue on Santoro’s record night

BELLEVUE – Carly Santoro stole the ball and took off toward the basket.

As she had done so many times already Friday, she smoothly put down an uncontested layup.

More than two minutes remained in the third quarter, but the Bellevue star’s night was over.

Santoro went to the bench moments after the layup and didn’t return. She didn’t need to.

Not only had the Redmen’s win over Columbian (they led 62-11 after Santoro’s final points) long-since been decided, but the sophomore had set a program record for points in a single game.

Santoro had 43 points in Bellevue’s 73-21 win over the Tornadoes, breaking the record of 41 set by Lori LaFollette on Feb. 25, 1980.

To put into perspective how long the record stood, it was set about four years before Santoro’s coach – Ryan Orshoski – was born.

Santoro, who also had seven steals, said she was unaware she was closing in on the school mark.

“I had no idea about the record,” Santoro said. “I didn’t know I was anywhere close to it. I just kept playing, and then when they announced it [over the public address system], I was like ‘Oh, that’s cool.'”

Santoro achieved the mark by making 17 shots – five of them 3-pointers.

“Everything was just clicking; we played really great team ball,” she said. “A lot of my shots were falling, it was just an overall good night for our team.”

Orshoski, whose team improved to 10-2, 5-0 in the Northern Ohio League, said Santoro is a tremendous competitor.

“I think it’s just her relentless nature,” he said. “She will out-compete everybody on the floor. Now, she shot it outstanding tonight. Her pull-up [jumper] is a really big part of her game, and she had that going as well, and our defense was as big a reason why Carly was able to break the record tonight, as she got a lot of run-outs on turnovers.”

The Tornadoes turned the ball over 31 times in the loss.

Columbian (5-8, 1-4) started the game well. A 3 from Jocelyn Cole, followed by a jumper from Megan Moore and another jumper from Cole produced a 7-0 run that gave the Tornadoes a 7-2 advantage early in the first quarter.

“It sounds weird in a blowout,” Columbian coach Katie Fazekas said, “I was completely happy with my team tonight. I was very, very proud of their effort. They fought the entire time; they didn’t play according to the scoreboard. I was nothing but proud of them tonight.”

Bellevue responded to the Tornadoes’ run with one of its own. It outscored TC 44-2 the rest of the half and led 46-9 at the break. The Redmen shut out the Tornadoes 22-0 in the second quarter, and Santoro had 27 points by halftime.

“Carly Santoro’s a phenomenal player,” Fazekas said. “She’s the best high school girls basketball player, tonight, that I’ve seen, and I’ve watched a lot of girls basketball. She had a phenomenal game.”

Fazekas, who was an outstanding high school player herself, was asked what stands out about Santoro.

“She can create her own shots; you can tell that she grew up playing,” Fazekas said. “I know her dad’s a coach, her brother’s a great player, her aunt is a great player. She just grew up in a basketball family, and you can just tell she’s played a lot. She’s the real deal.”

Columbian was led by Cole’s eight points, and by Payge Smith, who had eight rebounds to go with six points.

“The Tiffin girls played hard,” Orshoski said. “We came out and got into them defensively, and that set the tone.”

Hanna Lilly had eight points for the Redmen, while Jake Turner had seven.