YORK TWP. — When the Buckeye girls basketball roster was put together, Sydney Bell must have been wearing platform shoes.
Listed at 5-foot-8, the sophomore admitted to being 5-4 Thursday after a 57-48 Elyria Division II Sectional final win over Clearview.
But put a set of high tops on the guard and she may as well be 15 feet.
“She’s a huge part of this team,” said Buckeye point guard Gabby Glancy, who stands an inch taller than Bell. “She’s an animal. I’ve said it before: She can get whatever she wants to get. She’ll get that board every time.”
While many will look at Bell’s scoring (16 points), it’s what she did without the ball that really sparked the second-seeded Bucks (20-3) over the 10th-seeded Clippers (12-11).
Bell’s aggressive play kept Buckeye in the game when Clearview took a 13-9 lead after one. Her tenacity on the boards really told the tale, as she led all players with 20 rebounds. Nine came on the offensive end for a Bucks squad that held a 51-38 advantage on the glass.
“This isn’t the first time I’ve said this, but she just has a nose for the ball,” Buckeye coach Ron Clady said. “She knows how to put herself in position to box out. She has a knack for knowing where the ball is going to come off the rim.
“She’s always that girl that finds a way to get a rebound. She struggled at times this year, but really is fitting where we thought she’d fit once we got her in the lineup. She’s doing the extra stuff. Having 20 boards just shows you.”
All in a day’s work for Bell, who started last season but began this season off the bench. Since being put back in the starting five in Game 11 against Black River, she hasn’t hesitated to live amongst the trees down low.
“I see the ball go up and the first thing my mind does is put myself in a position to get the ball,” said Bell, whose career high is 26 rebounds. “I just jump and try to grab the ball. I love the role. I think rebounds are important, otherwise you’re going one and out. You need those second and third shots, so rebounding and helping my team is a big part for me.”
While Bell was a big piece for Buckeye, she wasn’t the only one, as Glancy (17 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) and Madison Ross (12, 10, 5) were key contributors.
Ross’ second quarter was critical, as the 5-9 junior scored eight points that turned around momentum. Six came during a 10-2 run to end the quarter that gave Buckeye the lead for good.
“Once we got going in that second quarter, it just built our momentum up,” Glancy said. “We wanted to stick with it the whole game and finish the game strong.”
That offset solid play from Clearview’s Brooke Rebman (19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) and Ariana Vazquez (13 points, 12 rebounds).
It also brought a rematch with third-seeded Cloverleaf (13-10) on Monday. The Colts beat sixth-seeded Padua 42-39 for the right to play the Bucks again after losing to them 56-49 on Nov. 26.
“They’ve got a good one-two power punch with Mckenna Jordan and Cam Tripp,” Clady said. “We’re going to have to play tougher than we did tonight. We didn’t play our best game tonight. We can attribute it to the first game of the tournament and that excitement, but every game is a battle. It won’t be easy. We just have to play really good defense and finish on offense.”
Buckeye 57, Clearview 48
Elyria Division II Sectional Final
CLEARVIEW 13 9 14 12 — 48
BUCKEYE 9 20 17 11 — 57
Clearview — Samantha Jancsura 1-0-2, Arriana Noble 1-0-3, Ariana Vazquez 5-3-13, Olivia Romes 2-1-6, Brooke Rebman 6-6-19, Madison Pennington 0-1-1, Sanai Flowers 0-0-0, Madilyn Love 0-0-0, LeAnna Rogers 2-0-4, Jayden Colbert 0-0-0. TOTALS: 17-11-48.
Buckeye — Elizabeth Whetstone 2-0-4, Sydney Bell 7-2-16, Madison Ross 5-2-12, Tatum Widenmeyer 0-0-0, Gabby Glancy 4-9-17, Autumn Meyer 1-0-2, Courtney Keeler 1-0-2, Alyssa Beckett 2-0-4. TOTALS: 22-13-57.
3-point goals — Rebman, Romes, Noble. Rebounds — Clearview 38 (Vazquez 12), Buckeye 51 (Bell 20). Assists — Clearview 7 (Rebman 4), Buckeye 12 (Ross 5). Records — Clearview (12-11), Buckeye (20-3).