Garrettsville – At the close of 2016, the Garfield Lady G-Men basketball team was off to a stellar 9-0, in fact the Lady G-Men only lost three games in the entire 2016 calendar year!
The new year so far has not been easy for the lady cagers as they started 2017 with 10 games in January — four of them against teams with fewer than five losses!! Just to compare, in the same time span the Cleveland Cavs played 13 games and didn’t have to juggle any mid-terms or dual-credit assignments. When the dust settled, the Lady G-Men ended the month 6-4 and still hold a chance at a piece of the league crown for the second straight year.
To close out the chaotic month, Garfield hosted Western Reserve Academy (WRA) out of Hudson on Saturday night. While the Lady G-Men raced out to an 18-9 lead, it was WRA that made a basket and then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to close the gap to one after the first quarter,18-17.
WRA opened the second quarter with a bucket to take their first lead of the game 19-18. WRA would later hit one of two free throws to take a 22-20 lead with 2:57 remaining in the first half. Senior Lauren Jones ended a four minute Garfield scoring drought with a game-tying layup with 2:47 remaining in the half and 30 seconds later Jones scored and was fouled. After completing the three-point play, the Lady G-Men took the lead for good and subsequently went on a 9-1 run over the final 4:02 of the first half, taking a 29-22 halftime lead. Garfield’s smothering defense clamped down on WRA to start the third quarter as well, holding WRA without a field goal for the first 3:43 of the second half. Garfield outscored WRA every quarter of the game, on their way to a 49-38 non-league victory.
While eight Lady G-Men made the scoring column, leading the way for Garfield were senior Grayson Rose with 18 and senior Lauren Jones added 12.
At the close of January, the Lady G-Men stand at 15-4 with three games to play in the regular season — February 1st at Rootstown, 8th home against Mogadore & the 15th home against Waterloo which will be the seniors’ last home game.
Winning is nothing new to these senior girls, as many of them were on state championship softball teams when they were younger and the likes of Callie Pfile, Nina Jurcevic, Taylor Brown and Brenna Tabor were a part of the 2014 PTC softball championship team. Jones and Pfile both have had the honor of being named first team PTC in golf, Jones also is the owner of back-to-back discus throw state titles. Grayson Rose, Jones and Jurcevic led the volleyball team to a district title this past fall.
The basketball resumes are just as impressive, as these girls have produced back-to-back 19-win seasons for the first time since the late 90’s. Their sophomore season saw the Lady G-Men reach the regional championship game where they went into half trailing by just three points to the number one team in the state. And with the win Saturday against WRA brings their four-year win total to 69, coming close to that of the Lady G-Men class of 1998 that graduated with 72 wins after four years.
This Lady G-Men squad has won in a variety of ways, from close games to blowouts, from short handed to full strength. But one thing this team has not done is look back.
After a fast 5-0 start that saw Garfield win by an average of 22.8 points before their first true test, last year’s PTC co-champion Southeast Pirates, the Lady G- Men outscored the visiting Pirates 17-13 in the final quarter to walk away with a 51-49 victory — only the second time this senior class has beaten Southeast in their career. The ladies followed that effort with back-to-back 50+ point victories over Rootstown and Valley Christian and a 29 point win over Cardinal to wrap up 2016. Of the four losses in January, one was to the second ranked team in the state GlenOak, and the seventh ranked team in Division II West Branch, and Garfield dropped a showdown with the PTC leader Southeast.
Leading the Lady G-Men this year has been Grayson Rose, averaging almost 19 points and over 11 rebounds per game, who will attend Northern Kentucky University on a basketball scholarship after graduation. Teammate Lauren Jones, who is averaging 9 points per game, grabbing five rebounds and dishing out five assists a game will head to Norman, Oklahoma on a Sooner track scholarship upon completion of her classes.
Photos by Benjamin Coll – Additional photos available when you pre-order your 2017 GHS Yearbook at jagyearbook.org