Balanced Bellevue rolls past?Columbian girls

Before Saturday’s game against Columbian, Bellevue coach Ryan Orshoski was presented with a ball commemorating him becoming the program’s all-time winningest coach.

That was pretty much the last time someone from Bellevue was on the court holding a ball, and not making a 3-pointer.

Seven different Bellevue players sank a 3-point shot Saturday afternoon against Columbian. The Lady Redmen hit 10 in all as they cruised to a 68-31 victory over the Tornadoes.

“That has been a strength for us all year,” Bellevue coach Ryan Orshoski said. “At times we rely on it too much. We’re going to shoot them, but it needs to be within the offense. And it needs to not be a, settle for a 3. It needs to be within the offense and within rhythm.”

Columbian coach Katie Fazekas was pleased with her team’s defense, but passed on the credit to the Lady Redmen for hitting their shots.

“First of all, Bellevue is a great team,” she said. “They’re deep; they’re well-rounded. They had seven different players hit 3s tonight. They shot really well. Credit to them.

“Even with a hand in their face, they shot well. You like to think good defense cools down good offense, but tonight it didn’t. They were on from out there.”

Fives 3-pointers came in the first quarter as Bellevue built a 21-9 lead and never looked back.

Columbian was the contrast, missing on all seven attempts from behind the arc.

“We were off from the perimeter tonight,” Fazekas added. “We went 0-for from 3-point. That hurts. That’s not like us.”

When it comes to Bellevue, a lot of attention goes to star guard Carly Santoro. And the junior had another solid day, leading everybody with 17 points. But it was a total team effort Saturday. Seven different players had at least six points. Jessica Zeitz came off the bench to score 10.

“I thought we played hard today and we got contributions from a lot of girls,” Orshoski said. “I thought Jessica Zeitz stepped up and hits shots for us and handled the ball as we were battling some foul trouble. I thought it was a good team win.”

The balance was needed as Bellevue got in early foul trouble, and Columbian found a way to slow Santoro down in the second and third quarters.

Fazekas brought Amanda Schwartz off the bench to guard Santoro in a man-to-man defense. Fazekas was proud of the performance of the sophomore getting her first varsity time.

“I thought Amanda Schwartz did a great job when she came in,” Fazekas said. “She gave us a spark, gave us an opportunity to run a different defense that we haven’t been able to do in the past. For a sophomore to be able to step up cold like that, she did a really good job.”

Columbian’s offense, though, struggled all afternoon to get going as Bellevue’s defense forced the Tornadoes into 36 turnovers and only seven made field goals.

“I thought we handled the press real well in the first half. Then in the second half they didn’t change the press, but we started slowing down instead of attacking,” Fazekas said. “We had way too many turnovers. Turnovers are bad because you don’t even get a chance to put the ball at the hoop. That’s 72 points that we don’t even have an opportunity to get because we’re giving the ball away.”

For Orshoski, he said he was looking for his team to match the intensity he knew Columbian would bring to the court.

“The one thing you know you’re going to get out of Tiffin is a lot of effort an intensity,” he said. “What they lack in size they make up for with effort. We wanted to be able to not be outworked today and have them match our intensity.”

Valesha Province scored eight to lead Columbian (1-14, 0-7 Northern Ohio League). Chelsea Hutchins added seven and Mckenzie Zimmerman scored six.

Bellevue improves to 11-2, 7-1.