NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The South Range Lady Raiders came into the 2014-15 season as a league favorites in the ITCL Upper Tier. Monday night they did not disappoint in a lopsided 73-46 victory over their league rival Springfield. The win pushes the Raiders record to 5-0 overall, 4-0 in the ITCL.
“I’m happy, it’s a rivalry game. I knew it was going to be tough, I knew it was going to be a grind,” Raiders Coach Tony Matisi said. “There wasn’t much flow to the game at all.”
The Raiders press caused 19 first half turnovers by the Tigers as they built a 37-20 lead at intermission. But Matisi wasn’t happy with what his team did with those turnovers.
“We’ve been doing that well,” he said of forcing turnovers. “I think that makes us go. I wasn’t happy with a lot of the decisions off of the transitions. We may have caused 19 turnovers, but I don’t think we got too many points off of the transition of that. Too many quick shots, not enough offense. We were taking the first shot instead of the best shot.”
“I don’t know if it was their press, they put a lot of pressure on you, but I think we didn’t get into our press offense. And when we got into it we rushed a little bit,” Tiger Coach Jim Schuler explained. “We got a little too fast in our heads and didn’t have our bodies slow down like we needed to.”
The Tigers fought back in the second half as they cut into the Raiders lead. By the three minute mark of the quarter the Tigers had reduced the deficit down to just 11-points at 47-36 following a layup basket by Tigers senior guard Mary Ritter.
“They got under our skin a little bit,” Matisi admitted. “They came out at halftime and took it to us a little bit and put us on our heels. I had to call a timeout and settle them down a little. They were fine after that.”
They were fine from that point to the final buzzer, as the Raiders started to pull away. They ended the third quarter leading 53-38, and then outscored the Tigers 20-8 in the final session.
Leading that charge was the Raiders senior forward Sara Durr. She would score 12 of her game-high 20 points in the second half while also hauling down 7 rebounds, and two blocked shots. And despite being one of the tallest players on the floor she also hit a few shots from outside
“She may be our best shooter,” Matisi said. “I’m not kidding. The form, she’s a great free throw shooter, and we let her step out. She can shoot any shot on the floor. I’m not afraid to let her shoot any shot on the floor. She’s that good.”
“I just played. There really wasn’t anything in my mind other than wanting to beat Springfield,” Sara said with a chuckle. “Last year I was really afraid to take a shot from outside, on the block is more of my comfort zone. But this year the coaches have really pushed me outside. And having Maddie inside, someone as tall as me in the post, but I have been pushed out a little bit from my comfort zone.”
Other than Durr’s 20-points, the Raiders were led by Morgan Czopur with 16, Ashley Sharp with 14, and Madison Durkin with 11. Durkin also had 9 rebounds to lead the Raiders.
The Tigers were paced by Callie Ford with 17 points, while Kasey Kohler chipped in with 11. Kohler also grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Tigers.
The Tigers fall to 3-3 on the season, and 1-2 in the ITCL.
The Raiders also won the J-V contest by a 54-27 score. Taylor Naples of the Raiders had a game-high 26 points.
COURTESY: Lowell Spencer – ITCLFootball.net