MIDDLEPORT — It was a track meet from the get-go on Tuesday evening, with Roy-Hart and Cleveland Hill running up and down the court and putting up points in bunches. The Lady Rams took an 18-point halftime lead, 42-24, before Cleveland Hill mounted a frantic late-game rally.
Unfortunately for coach Don Baker and the Roy-Hart squad, Cleveland Hill came up with a few big plays late that pushed the verdict in the Lady Eagles' favor. Cleveland Hill junior Sydney Turley made a brilliant up-and-under move for a basket with 32 seconds remaining to give her team the lead, and the Lady Eagles held on for a 73-67 victory in the season opener for both teams, a non-league game on Tuesday night at Roy-Hart HS.
"We had some foul trouble in the second half, and we sent them to the line a bit too much," Baker said. "We've got to do a better job at rebounding and boxing out, and we need to limit our turnovers. But for the first game, it was pretty well-played."
Indeed it was. After Cleveland Hill took a 17-16 lead at the end of the first quarter, the Lady Rams used a 26-7 spurt to build a commanding halftime lead. Roy-Hart used a consistent press that was well-executed all around, and junior Taylor Fry took advantage of her athleticism by forcing turnovers and quickly getting the ball out into transition.
The result was a huge second quarter for the Lady Rams, capped off by a 60-second stretch at the end of the half where Fry had two steals that directly resulted in baskets, in addition to two other assists.
"In the second quarter, we started pressing more, and we got into a rhythm," Baker said.