Firelands Falcons find the right formula

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Fireland's Rachel Holowecky, right, puts up a shot over Keystone's Darcy Irish in the second quarter.

What a difference a couple of years can make, just ask the Firelands Falcons.

Muddling at the bottom of the West Shore Conference since it formed, the Falcons moved to the Patriot Athletic Conference last year and have turned things around.

The Falcons finished 15-7 last season, including an opening-round win in the Division II Elyria District Tournament.

This season, Firelands has picked up where they left off.

They lost to Vermilion to open the season in November, but found its rhythm in December.

Firelands won six straight games this month, all against PAC opponents, before losing to Norwalk last Thursday.

The Falcons are currently 6-2, and 6-0 in the PAC Stars Division.

Leading the way for Firelands is the duo of Rachel Holowecky and Casey Morissette. Holowecky is averaging 15.5 points a game in conference play, while Morissette is averaging 12.

Holowecky has also scored the most points (93) in conference play.

The Falcons will hit the road next on Jan. 3-4 when they participate at the Gator Classic in Shaker Heights.

Patriot power

Another team off to a surprising start is the Open Door Patriots.

The Patriots, who won nine games last season, are 7-2 and currently on a five-game winning streak.

Two of those wins came at the Inaugural Open Door Christmas Holiday Tournament.

Open Door defeated First Baptist, 40-26, with senior Brooke Camera leading the way with a team-high 10 points.

The Patriots then beat Christian Community, 58-37, to win the tournament. Senior Briana Rodgers led the team with 18 points, while fellow senior Alexis Werley added 17.

Rodgers was named tournament MVP, totaling 24 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists and 15 steals in the two games.

The balanced attack of Camera, Rodgers and Werley has led the Patriots early on.

Camera leads the team in scoring (12.6), Rodgers leads the team in assists (4.7), and steals (7.4), while Werley leads the team in rebounds (6.7).

Open Door will try to make it six straight when they face Monclova Christian Academy on Jan. 7.

Clippers cruising

Firelands might be the feel-good story in the PAC, but there is no question who’s the best team — Clearview.

The Clippers, finished second in the Stripes Division last season, are 7-0 and 6-0 in the PAC.

Clearview handily defeated Columbia on Dec. 19, 58-29, led by Desiree Ray’s 13 points. Tahjanae Flowers-Coleman and MacKenzie Mielcarek also finished in double figures with 12 and 11 points respectively.

The Clippers have been led by Ray (15.4 points a game) and Angel Blakely (15.3 ppg.).

Clearview will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to face North Ridgeville.

Layup line

• Westlake’s Rachel Collins led four players in double figures with a team-high 22 points in the team’s 78-5 beat down of Valley Forge last Saturday. The Demons held Valley Forge scoreless in the second and third quarters. Westlake is 7-2 on the season and will travel to Cleveland Heights to play in a holiday tournament today and Saturday.

• Brittney McNamara and Riley Schill each scored 15 points, as Elyria Catholic defeated Keystone last Saturday, 51-28. The Panthers are 9-2 this season and will travel to play Cleveland Central Catholic on Saturday.

• Hannah Bartlome scored a team-high 20 points to lead Vermilion to a 59-28 victory against Brookside last Saturday. Aubree LaForce also had a strong performance with 16 points for the Sailors, who improved to 6-4. Vermilion traveled to play Wellington on Thursday.

• North Ridgville squeezed by Olmsted Falls last Saturday, 32-31, to pick up its second win of the season. The Rangers were led by Alyssa Riley’s team-high 11 points.

• Shayla Middlebrooks paced Elyria with 22 points in the team’s 53-48 victory against Shaker Heights last Saturday. Mary Jones chipped in with 17 for the Pioneers, who evened their record to 4-4. Elyria played Thursday in the Comet Holiday Tournament.

@MJAnthonyRios

Last Updated: 12/27/2012 11:18:05 PM EST

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