Rangers Win One for "Oma"
Olivia Nagy, center on the Lakewood girls basketball team, had quite an emotional day on Saturday. She and her teammates met conference rival Westlake at 2:15pm for the final regular season game of the year. Then at 5pm she had a funeral to attend for her beloved grandmother Helene Nagy, who the family called “oma”. The Rangers won one for ‘Oma’, defeating Westlake 46-42 and pushing their winning streak to five games.
Lakewood entered the game looking to avenge a 46-43 defeat earlier this year at Westlake. The first few minutes established both teams’ strategies: Lakewood going inside to Nagy, while Westlake relied on strong perimeter play. Lakewood led 15-14 after the first period, with Nagy scoring six of the Rangers first eight points, and Westlake sinking a trio of three pointers from three different players.
Westlake continued its three-point barrage in the second quarter, hitting four more treys. Lakewood was able to stretch the lead to 30-26 at the half, boosted by seven points from junior Courtney Ribar. Seniors Trinity Nall and Emma Ribar, along with sophomore Christian Massey, each made a pair of important free throws in the third quarter to sustain the Lakewood advantage. The Rangers led 42-34 after three periods.
Both teams ramped up their defense in the final quarter, as the game was scoreless in the first four minutes of the perios. Nagy finally broke the ice with a layup to make the score 44-34 with 3:36 left in the game. Westlake battled back, hitting a pair three pointers to cut the lead to 44-40 with 29 seconds left. Nagy, who earlier was struggling with her free throws, was fouled with 17 seconds left. She calmly sank both of her shots, putting the game away 46-42. Perhaps "Oma” was there to guide the ball.
Lakewood finishes the regular season at 15-7, third place in the SWC with a 16-8 conference record. They have a bye in the first round of the OHSAA tournament, and will next play on February 23 at 7pm against either Normandy or Rocky River. The Rangers hope to keep their winning streak going. “We want to keep winning for ‘Oma’” said Mary Lou Nagy (Olivia’s mom), immediately after the game.
Mike Deneen has extensive experience covering sports and community stories for the Lakewood Observer. Mike has been a Senior Industry Analyst for the Freedonia Group in Cleveland, Ohio, since 1998. He has appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell, NPR’s MarketPlace and has been quoted multiple times in The Wall Street Journal. He has made multiple guest appearances on ESPN Cleveland radio. Mike also writes for Inside Northwestern, a website that covers Northwestern Wildcat Athletics. You can reach him on Twitter at @MikeDeneen1