by Michael Leonard
Tallmadge -- The Tallmadge girls basketball team could be considered "hot," having won six of its last seven games.
However, the Lady Blue Devils probably want that one loss back.
Tallmadge scored 57-36 victory over Rootstown Jan. 9 on the road in at game that was postponed 24 hours due to weather.
However, the Lady Blue Devils then suffered a 47-40 loss to Suburban League rival Cloverleaf Jan. 11 in Lodi.
Tallmadge rebounded with a 53-33 win over Cuyahoga Falls Jan. 15 at James O. Maddox Court.
As of press time, the Lady Blue Devils were 10-4 overall and 3-4 in the league.
Perhaps Falls was hoping to catch Tallmadge in the same funk the Lady Blue Devils were against Cloverleaf, which Tallmadge head coach Bill Johnson said was one of his team's worst performances of the season.
However, it was clear early that Tallmadge left whatever kinks it had in Lodi.
The Lady Blue Devils opened the game on an 8-0 run, causing the Lady Black Tigers to call time-out.
It did little to stem the tide.
Tallmadge seemed to get points in bunches off steals.
Led by the inside play of senior forward Mary Ryan, who scored seven of her 11 points the first quarter, the Lady Blue Devils took a 24-7 lead after one quarter and never looked back.
Falls had no answer for Tallmadge's pressure defense, which was keyed by guards Kelsey Rice and Olivia Ayres.
"I thought we set the tone with how we defended early," Johnson said.
Tallmadge guard Kirsten Lightel led the Lady Blue Devils' offense in the second quarter, nailing a pair of three-pointers.
Lightel led all scorers with 15 points on five three-pointers.
"Even though she shoots a lot, she never takes bad shots," Johnson said of Lightel.
Tallmadge took a 40-15 lead to halftime as Ryan and Rice benefited from several steals that led to layups.
The Lady Blue Devils only hit two field goals in the third quarter -- a pair of three-pointers by Lightel.
However, Tallmadge still managed to widen its lead to 46-19 after three quarters as Falls was held to only two layups in the quarter.
Lexy Dieterich led the Lady Black Tigers with eight points.
After being held scoreless at Cloverleaf, Rice got back to normal game, finishing with seven points, eight assists and five steals.
Against Rootstown, Tallmadge outscored the Lady Rovers (5-5) 17-5 in the second quarter to take a 37-9 lead at halftime.
Ayres led the Lady Blue Devils with 15 points and Lightel knocked down four three-pointers on her way to 14 points.
Ryan added 11 points and six rebounds and Rice finished with 10 rebounds, seven points, six assists, five steals and five blocks.
In the Cloverleaf loss, Tallmadge was led by Ayres with 13 points, while Ryan had 12.
The Lady Blue Devils were set to host league foe Revere Jan. 18, but results weren't available at press time.
Tallmadge is scheduled to visit league rival Copley Jan. 22 at 7:30 before hosting league foe Highland Jan. 25 at 2:30 p.m.