OLMSTED TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Northeast Ohio girls basketball teams, you’ve been put on notice: Watch out for Shyanne Sellers and the Aurora Greenmen.
Sellers, the daughter of a former NBA star and committed to play at Maryland next year, has been in the spotlight for her entire career. But Saturday at Olmsted Falls, the 6-foot-1 senior took things to a whole new level, playing the kind of all-around game of which coaches only dream.
With Sellers putting together 28 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, four blocks and four steals, the Greenmen, ranked No. 12 in the cleveland.com Top 25, opened the season with a 68-61 victory over No. 8 Olmsted Falls.
“It was a complete game,” Aurora coach Erika Greenberg said of her star. “I just told her ‘this is the best I’ve ever seen you play.’ I thought she did a really good job of distributing and getting her teammates involved. She draws so much attention. When she can kick the ball to her teammates and they knock down shots, I think we’re going to be pretty good.”
Olmsted Falls coach Jordan Eaton could only agree.
“Aurora has a really good basketball team,” Eaton said. “A lot of people probably would say that it’s just Shyanne Sellers, but that’s not true. They’re very well coached. The girls who play in support of Sellers are really good basketball players, complete basketball players.”
Junior Ava Ryncarz backed Sellers with 19 points, while freshman Samantha Stask added 15 in her first varsity game. Mia Kalich led the Bulldogs with 14 points, with Lauren Noernberg chipping in 13 and Paige Kohler 11.
“I think I got a lot of people involved in this game,” Sellers said. “I think we were scared going in, because we lost a lot of good players the last two years. So, going into this game we were really uncertain. But everyone stepped up. When we got down, we weren’t freaking out. We got ourselves back in the game and just played really good basketball.”
The hosts led by 10 late in the second quarter and seven late in the third. But each time the Bulldogs threatened to break the game open, Aurora battled back. Olmsted Falls led by four, 51-47, entering the final period, but Sellers hit a step-back jumper from just inside the 3-point line, and then she and Ryncarz hit consecutive treys to give the Greenmen a 57-53 lead with 5:15 to play.
Noernberg answered with a 3-pointer of her own, and when Grace Simon scored on a driving layup after going coast to coast off a steal, the Bulldogs were up, 58-57. But Olmsted Falls would score only three points over the final 4:30.
“They did a good job defensively,” Eaton said. “They dug deep when they needed to. They’re good defensively, too. They understand opposing player personnel and they’re very well coached. They made it tough on us down the stretch.”
Aurora clung to a 64-61 lead in the final minute when fellow freshmen Stask and Kailey Feckner put the finishing touches on the victory. With 25.9 seconds to play, Stask calmly stepped to the free-throw line and swished both ends of a one-and-one. Fourteen seconds later, Feckner did the same.
“That was great,” Greenberg said. “It takes a lot of guts to step up to that line and knock down your first one-and-one. I’m really proud of our two freshmen. They played well all around.”
As did the Greenmen as a whole.
“They surprised me, honestly,” Greenberg said. “We played together, we played as a unit, we moved the ball. Defensively we played much better than I thought we were going to. I thought we did a good job of trying to contain and still get to shooters.”