Province ties school record in loss to Shelby

Valesha Province certainly did all she could.

But despite tying an 18-year-old school scoring record, the Columbian junior couldn’t push Columbian to its first win of the season.

Province scored 36 points against Shelby on Saturday at Heidelberg’s Seiberling Gymnasium, matching a total scored by Anjee Beard Beaston back in 1995. But it wasn’t enough.

Shelby, led by a strong shooting night from Gabby Stephens, held on for a 58-53 win.

The Tornadoes fell to 0-9, 0-4 in the Northern Ohio League.

Beard Beaston, who later went on to play for Baldwin Wallace and be enshrined in the college’s hall of fame, set the team’s scoring record Dec. 16, 1995 against Galion.

For the record, Province was born in 1996.

Province said she was aware of what Beard Beaston’s record was.

“My teammates got me the ball, which really helped a lot, and we were able to penetrate,” she said. “If they did come up and guard me I could dish it to the post players and they could hit it.”

TC coach Katie Fazekas said Province’s performance was about intangibles.

“It’s determination,” she said. “The same determination that gets her in there all summer shooting – we’re in there for hours and hours and hours -is the same determination that she takes on the court every game.”

Province was not just the majority of Columbian’s offense in the first half, she was practically all of it, scoring 16 of her team’s 20 as the Tornadoes went into the half down 22-20.

It was a scoring surge by Province in the final 1:10 of the second period that allowed the game to be that close.

A jumper by Shelby’s Madison Alfrey put the Whippets up 22-12, but on three consecutive possessions after that, Province was left open.

The result? Two 3s and a 2, and Columbian went to the half trailing by two.

“We knew she was a shooter, and gave up three or four 3s right away first half,” said Shelby coach Natalie Lantz, whose team upped its mark to 4-5, 2-2 in the NOL. “We talked about it, and we’d make adjustments, and then we’d back down again.”

Still, behind Stephens’ eight-point third quarter, the Whippets opened up a 38-31 lead going to the fourth, and led 50-37 with less than three minutes left in regulation.

Stephens finished with 19 points, while Taylor Fulton had 14 points and nine rebounds.

Behind Province and Laura Heminger (who had 11 points), TC cut the lead to four in the final minute, but weren’t able to complete the comeback.

Lantz said her team struggled to finish.

“The good thing is, we do have a couple of players like Taylor Fulton, she’s a good senior leader, and she’s gonna stay focused the whole time,” Lantz said.

Fazekas said Columbian plays well in stretches, but needs more than that.

“We talked about that in the locker room, being consistent, being a 32-minute basketball team,” she said. “We put spurts together, and if can sustain those spurts, put spurts together and turn that into consistency, we look pretty good. But we can’t have droughts.”

To go along with her record-tying scoring day, Province led all players with 10 rebounds.