GOESSEL — The Elyria Christian School girls basketball team picked up its first win of the season Friday night against league-rival Canton-Galva at the Goessel Bluebird Classic.
In a defensive battle with lots of fouls, Elyria edged Canton-Galva 38-29 behind 16 points from sophomore Kylee Penner, and a combined 15 points from junior Connie Schott and sophomore Olivia Peters. When multiple starters were fouled out in the fourth quarter, Elyria freshman Ryland Hawkinson was tasked with guarding All-Wheat State League senior Tia Moddelmog. The Canton-Galva star finished with 15 points on 5 of 18 shooting.
Canton-Galva battled all night despite missing three potential starters. Senior Jayci Mastre was out with a concussion suffered on Tuesday, while junior Alexa Bell and junior Michaela Jowers are out indefinitely with back injuries. Bell averaged 17 points a game and was an all-league selection last year.
Despite the depleted roster, Canton-Galva fought hard, which is something head coach Shelby Hoppes knows he can expect from his team.
“One thing about this team that I’ll never complain about is we give great effort,” Hoppes said. “We hustle, we get around, we get on the floor. They play their tails off, now it’s just getting the execution down.”
For Elyria, an extremely young Eagles squad picked up its first win of the season.
“This was the first time we played with a lead in the fourth quarter, and they learned how important game management is in a pressure situation,” Elyria head coach Greg Fields said.
Elyria maintained a slight lead for most of the game. When Moddelmog fouled out with 4:33 remaining, Canton-Galva failed to make a field goal the rest of the game, although freshman Sage Toews did make two free throws. Without Moddelmog, Canton-Galva was outscored by Elyria 9-2 in the final four-and-a-half minutes.
“We knew it would be a struggle without Tia. We also knew when she came out, they would start to pressure us harder,” Hoppes said.
With the win, Elyria will play Burrton for third place in the Bluebird on Saturday at 3 p.m. The final score was not available by press time.
Canton-Galva drops to 0-3 on the season and will look for its first win in the fifth-place game against Goessel.