Rangers Upset Magnificat in OHSAA Tournament
The LHS girls basketball team scored perhaps the biggest win of the academic year for Lakewood Athletics, defeating Magnificat 47-36 Monday night in a OHSAA tournament game at Valley Forge High School. Junior Saher Hamdan led all scorers with 16 points, but the win was a total team effort. Ryann Greenfield ran the point all night, scoring seven and avoiding turnovers. Olivia Nagy had ten points, multiple block shots, and was a major defensive presence in the paint. The Ribar sisters (Courtney and Emma) played pesky defense all night, creating turnovers and disrupting the Blue Streak offense.
The game was intense from the opening tip, as bodies flew on the deck even in the first period. Despite the nagging injuries that have affected her career, Greenfield dived for numerous loose balls. It was apparent that the senior didn’t want her career to end on this night. Magnificat opened an 11-6 lead late in the first quarter, but Lakewood went on a 9-0 run go ahead early in the second period. Hamdan made the key play late in the first. Trailing 11-6, she drove the lane to score a layup and was fouled on the play. She sank the free throw to make the score 11-9 and re-ignite the large Ranger contingent in the crowd. Courtney Ribar followed with a three pointer early in the second to make it 13-11…..the purple peeps went crazy in the stands. The teams battled back and forth, and Mags held a 25-24 lead at halftime.
Isabel Cintron started the third quarter scoring, making a three-pointer in the first 32 seconds to give Lakewood a 27-25 lead. The Blue Streaks scored the next five points, but Lakewood closed the period on another 9-0 run to make the score 36-30 going into the final period. Nagy, Courtney Ribar, and Hamdan all scored during the run. The Rangers pressure defense, which was effective all night, paid its best dividends in the fourth quarter. Magnificat was held to a total of only 6 points in the period, as they were badgered by the Ranger guards and blocked by the Ranger bigs. Many possessions resulted in a turnover or a missed long shot, with Nagy or Christian Massey getting the defensive rebound. The Rangers had a double-digit lead with 3 minutes to go, and expanded it to 47-34. Greenfield led the offense in the closing minutes, keeping the ball away from Magnificat and setting up key late shots for Emma Ribar, Nagy, and Hamdan. As the final seconds ticked off the win, Ranger fans erupted in delight.
“I thought we did a good job in pressuring them,” Ranger head coach Mike Harper said after the game. He was especially happy with Hamdan’s performance. “She’s a fantastic kid….she gives us a scoring punch when we need it.” The Rangers move on to face Medina, which eliminated St. Joseph Academy earlier in the evening 42-34. “I’m happy for the public schools”, Harper said when asked about the matchup. Lakewood defeated Medina 52-39 earlier this year at Harding Gym, but that means nothing now. The Bees’ size and length caused major problems for St. Joe’s, and will challenge the Rangers.
It was a big night for public schools, but at least one private school coach didn’t mind. St. Edward basketball coach Eric Flannery was in attendance to support Nagy, his niece. The two-time state championship coach was impressed by the Rangers. “I really liked the composure of Lakewood today,” he said in the stands during the final minute of the game. “They had great game preparation. That says a lot about their coaching staff and their kids.”
The Lakewood vs. Medina District Championship game will happen at 7pm on Thursday night at Valley Forge High School. The Rangers had great crowd support on Monday, and hope for even more on Thursday.
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