(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
CHARLESTON -- Scoring 12 unanswered points to end the third quarter, the Scott City Lady Rams held off a late push by the Charleston Lady Bluejays on Thursday for a 72-61 win.
"That's probably the best we've played," Scott City head coach Ricky Keller said. "I know it's only two games into the season, but I thought they played with a lot of heart and ran the ball well."
Holding a 43-26 advantage with 2:32 left in the third frame, the Lady Rams got opened a 12-point run with Lyndsie Robert connecting on a pair of free throws before a Katie Hogan basket made it 51-35.
Holding the Bluejays scoreless on their next two possession, Scott City kept charging ahead as Robert connected on back-to-back shots with the Lady Rams eventually building a 55-36 lead going in to the final frame.
"I think we were in better shape than they were," Keller said of the late quarter run. "We just ran the ball up and down the court and when their two big girls got in foul trouble we went man-to-man and that really separated us."
Though they continued to push ahead early in the fourth, Scott City's lead peaked at 29 when a bucket by Robert made it 69-40 with under five minutes to play.
After being dangerously close to being turbo clocked, the Bluejays spent the final 4:15 minutes of the contest closing back on the Lady Rams before running out of time.
With Jameshia Hamilton hitting a free throw with 18 seconds left to play, the Bluejays capped an 18-1 four-minute rally that closed Charleston back to within 12-points of the Lady Rams when time expired.
"We played well," Lady Bluejays head coach Josh Thompson said. "There were just two little lulls where we didn't take care of the ball. If you take those two lulls out it might be a totally different ball game."
Besides Scott City's charge late in the third quarter, Thompson is referring to the Lady Rams scoring 12-straight points in the final 2:30 minutes of the first frame to go up 18-5 heading into the second.
The Bluejays went on to outscore Scott City 18-15 in the second frame to close to within 10 points at 33-23 entering the break.
"I think that's probably the inexperience we have," Thompson said of the rallies. "We really only have two varsity players back in Kasuela Cooper and Ewing. In the first spurt Ewing was out and in the second spurt both were out so that really hurt us. They're our go-to players."
Leading Charleston, Ewing had 20 points, hitting on 8 of 19 shots from the floor while grabbing 14 rebounds, four steals and blocking two shots. Shooting 7 of 14, Cooper had 16 points and while collecting 14 rebounds.
For the Rams, Hogan led the way with 20 points, going 6 of 9 from the floor and 8 of 10 from the free throw line. She also added 19 rebounds and six blocked shots to the Lady Rams' cause.
Robert finished the game with 15 points, six steals and a block while Alicia Kern had 14 points on 7 of 13 shooting. The fourth Scott City player scoring in the double-digits, Katie Rhymer, had 12 points and four steals.
With Hogan garnering plenty of attention as usual, Keller said, "I'm glad every other girl stepped up whenever they played box one.
"That's what we're going to need, girls that are not normally our scorers to step up because until we get our injured girls back people are going to start keying in on Hogan."
Earlier in the night in junior varsity action, Scott City's picked up a 48-39 win over Charleston.
Sierra Frazier and Juwanna Walker had 16 and 15 points for the Lady Bluejays respectively while Natalie Woods led the Lady Rams with a game-high 18 points.
SCOTT CITY (72) -- Lyndsie Robert 15, Lindsey Rendleman 2, Katie Rhymer 12, Katie Hogan 20, Brittney Kiefer 6, Alicia Kern 14, Michaela Kiefer 1, Tana Tetly 2. FG 28. FT 18-26, F 22. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: Woods.)
CHARLESTON (61) -- Sierra Frazier 11, Kendra Hines 2, Tyshay Williams 5, Kasuela Cooper 16, E'Neikqua Ewing 20, Jameshia Hamilton 7. FG 24, FT 8-26, F 19. (3-pointers: Frazier 3, Williams 1, Hamilton 1.)