Garaway Girls Basketball

Lady Pirates press their way to victory over Orrville in Holiday Showcase win

Zoe Johnson and the Lady P's get a giant Christmas win

Talk around Mansfield Christian High School during the MCS girls basketball Holiday Showcase was that the Garaway (7-1) versus Orrville (4-4) basketball game was going to be one of the marquee match-ups of the slate of six games Tuesday, Dec. 27.

Talk was not incorrect.

The doozy of a game pitted Garaway’s quick full-court pressure against the Red Riders’ length inside and deep-ball shooting skills.

While the size took a toll on Garaway early, the Lady Pirates’ defensive pressure won out in the end, as Garaway earned a wild 64-61 win that went down the to final moments.

Mark Alberts Sr. was clearly aggravated following the game, feeling that it was one his team should have won.

“They wanted it more than we wanted it in the end,” Alberts said. “That is very disappointing. I want our girls to want it as badly as I do. Their girls wanted it as much as their coach did and they got it.”

As for Garaway, a team that is not blessed with size, they knew they had to work hard all night on the glass to compete.

“They are huge and athletic inside, and it’s no secret we aren’t very big,” said Garaway coach Dave Shutt. “I thought our pressure negated that a lot, and we got some easy looks off of turnovers that made the difference.”

Emily Landis got Orrville on top early with a put-back, exhibiting the Red Riders’ size advantage on the game’s first trip down the floor. Hailey Shutt then hit three free throws to give the Lady Pirates a short-lived 3-2 lead. Shadra Hamsher split a pair of free throws to tie it, Mariah Goodard then got a steal and a lay-up, then Orrville center Mikaila Carpenter scored twice inside for a 9-3 Orrville lead.

When Celeste Walters and Lillian Suppan scored for Orrville, the lead stood at 13-5, but Garaway responded with a Sydney Mullet jumper, a lay-up from Shutt off a steal from Mullet and a Zoe Johnson jumper to trim it to 13-11. However, Carpenter scored again inside and Hamsher made a nice move to beat the buzzer and gave the Red Riders a 17-11 lead through the first quarter.

The two teams traded scores throughout much of the second half, as Orrville continued to create problems for Garaway inside. After a Maddie Steiner score on another Mullet steal made it 23-19, Orrville went to work to build its lead to 10 at the half. Carpenter scored and A’Kerryia Hawkins hit a 3-pointer. Shutt scored three points before Suppan scored inside, and after a stop on the defensive side, Carpenter grabbed a miss from Hamsher and stuck it back in the hole to beat the buzzer to put the Red Riders up 32-22.

However, Garaway was about to step up its pressure, and Alberts didn’t like the way his team responded.

“We are up 10 at the half, then we just start giving the ball away to them for easy lay-ups,” Alberts said. “It was almost like we were saying, ‘Here, take it.’ You just can’t give the ball away 25 times and expect to win a game, and yet we were still in it. I thought we were definitely the aggressor in the first half, but they turned into the aggressor in the second half.”

“We were down 10 and we talked at the half about upping the pressure and doing a better job on the boards,” Coach Shutt said. “It wasn’t panic mode. We were down 10. We just needed to take it one possession at a time and get out in transition and try to wear them down.”

And when that happened, the game teetered in Garaway’s favor. Both coaches agreed that the style of play helped Garaway. Officials were letting them play, and Garaway’s scrappy defenders were taking full advantage, getting up close and personal on its press. They were aggressive and physical, and Alberts said when his team needed to shove back, it didn’t.

That led to a second half revival for the Lady Pirates.

Shutt made a steal and fed Chelsea Rothacher for a quick score to start the half, and Steiner dropped in a three-ball from the corner to trim the lead in half. It was then a back-and-forth affair as the teams traded scores, and when Shutt scored on a drive near the end of the third quarter, Orrville’s lead was 45-41.

Garaway continued its relentless pressure, and Steiner canned another trey. Orrville now led by one. Garaway missed a pair of great opportunities to forge a lead, but finally did when Steiner made a baseline jumper to give Garaway its first lead since 3-2.

Another turnover and a Katelyn Stress jumper later, and it was 48-45 Garaway. Goodard nailed a huge 3-pointer to tie things up again at 48.

Steiner came through again, hitting a big-time jumper off a huge offensive rebound from Kallie Regula. Carpenter responded with a score inside to tie it again at 50.

Johnson then connected on a 3-pointer, and Hamsher came right back with a driving score to leave the Red Riders trialing 53-52. Then Mullet found herself wide open from deep, and made Orrville pay on a perfect triple, and Garaway forced a turnover and Johnson drove in for a score to make it 58-52. Goodard then hit a ridiculous three-ball that saw her split two Garaway defenders at the top of the key and launch a bulls-eye to trim the Garaway lead to 58-55 with 2:14 to play.

But Mullet came through again, with a pair of free throws and a score off a steal to give Garaway its biggest lead at 62-55. Hamsher scored on a jumper and Walter scored on a nice drive to trim it to 64-61 as precious seconds ticked away, and Garaway then inbounded the ball and put the game in the win column.

“We had so many kids step up today,” Shutt said. “It was a great team effort.”

Carpenter paced Orrville with 12 points and seven rebounds, while Goodard added 11 points and Suppan scored 10. Hamsher added nine points while Walters scored eight points and added as many rebounds, while Landis added four points.

Garaway was paced by game MVP Haley Shutt, who popped in 20 points while adding four steals.

“We knew after the half we had to do a better job on the boards and get in people’s faces defensively,” the MVP said.

Mullet added 15 points and five steals while Steiner pitched in with 14 points, while Johnson added 10 and Rothacher scored three.



  1. Avatar

    Brenda Mullet

    Dec 28, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Thank you for the play by play for people that wanted to be at the game but couldn’t !!! You do a terrific job on covering the Pirates…Awesome pictures!!!


      Dec 29, 2016 at 9:49 am

      Thank you for your kind words Brenda, we enjoy covering our local student-athletes!

  2. Avatar

    Shane Perkins

    Dec 30, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Way to go Zoe for making the main article picture!!! Ma and I are very proud of you!!!

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