MIDDLEPORT — Roy-Hart girls basketball coach Don Baker knew his team would be in for a handful against a tough and well-coached Nichols squad.
For the first half, the Lady Rams held strong and matched the Lady Vikings nearly shot-for-shot, with Nichols maintaining a slim 24-22 advantage at the intermission.
But Roy-Hart ran into some foul trouble late in the first half, and starters Kendra Hill and Emma Lindke were forced to ride the bench for much of the third quarter. The result was a 17-6 third-quarter burst for the Nichols lineup, propelling the Lady Vikings to a 51-41 victory in the championship game of the Roy-Hart Sports Boosters Tip-Off Tournament on Saturday evening.
"The foul trouble kind of killed us," Baker said after the game. "It forced us to change our plans and our tempo, and Nichols was able to run the floor pretty well. They were also bigger than us, and they rebounded better as the game went on."
Roy-Hart took a 9-8 lead after the first quarter on the strength of a long three-point bucket from Hill, long two-point shots from Hill and Brianna Lewandowski, and two free throws by Taylor Fry.
Nichols came out of the gate strong for the second quarter, using an 8-3 run to jump out to a 16-12 lead, despite the boisterous cheering efforts of the rowdy Roy-Hart student section. Nichols senior Val McNamara made her presence felt during the second quarter, and McNamara was named tournament MVP after finishing with 17 points on the evening.
A strong drive-to-the hoop effort by Lindke and a long two-point basket from Fry helped the Lady Rams stay within shouting distance, as Roy-Hart broke for the locker room only two points off the pace.