CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – The South Range Lady Raiders like to put pressure on their opponents, and on Thursday night they turned the heat up on the Mineral Ridge Lady Rams to record a 58-34 victory. But it wasn’t until the second half of the game that they really showed their offensive firepower and defensive pressure.
With the Rams just trailing by 8-points at the halftime break, the Raiders exploded for a 22-0 run to start the second half and essentially put the game away. Seniors Ashley Sharp and Sara Durr helped to propel them as Sharp recorded 6 of her 16, and Durr 8 of her 10 game points in that pivotal quarter.
“We came out really slow, and then we got a big pep talk in the locker (at halftime),” Sharp said. “Basically he said we need to go out and play. We can’t expect to win without hustle and running our offense. When we came out we did just that.”
“We weren’t ready to play from the beginning of the game. No focus,” Raiders Coach Tony Matisi remarked. “You’re going to let this team beat you if you continue to play (this way). They came out the way they should have come out in the first quarter.”
“That’s what they can do to teams,” Rams Coach John Matisi said. “You have to play at such a high level for four quarters to play with them or beat them. If you let down for a second then that’s what they can do. It’s tough to keep that level up.”
Tony Matisi admitted that having games cancelled due to weather is a big reason for the slow start to his team, “The worst time for me is Christmas. Christmas break with just the routine and we play some ugly basketball. Yeah, being out of routine, I’ll buy into that 100 per cent.”
The Raiders also started the game with a big run as they jumped out to a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. They would go on to hold a 12-4 lead at the end of the frame.
But the Rams would start a comeback in the second quarter as they scored a basket and free throw to make it 12-7 early in the stanza. However, the Raiders Jordan Youngs would connect on a three point shot with just 35 seconds remaining before the half to increase the Raiders lead to 10-points at 20-12. The Rams Brianna Miner would hit a basket before the half to make it a 20-12 halftime score.
Following the Raiders 22-point run to start the second half, Miner would again score as she stopped the onslaught with two free throws with 2:25 remaining in the quarter. The Rams would regain their composure as they outscored the Raiders 10-3 to close out the third quarter, making it 45-22 after three periods of play.
Miner would net 12 points to lead the Rams in scoring. She would also grab a team high 8 rebounds.
The final quarter was highlighted by the Rams Alyssa Harkins scoring her 1,000 career point, the fourth player in Rams history to do so. Her two free throws with 1:53 remaining in the contest set the record.
“It was hard, especially tonight. (Madison) Durkin was guarding me great. For awhile I didn’t think I was going to be able to get it,” Harkins said. “But my team mates really did well with getting me the ball. I couldn’t have done it without them, they are my best friends.”
The Raiders improve to 15-2 on the season, and 11-0 in the ITCL. The Rams fall to 11-5, 6-4 in the league.