The North Ridgeville Rangers had trouble finding the rim and Amherst took full advantage early in the second game of the season, helping the Comets roll to a 54-45 Southwestern Conference victory.
Jayla Hall got the Comets on the board with the first of her two shots in the quarter. Sydney Roule chimed in for a basket while Kamryn Dziak hit for a three-pointer.
The 15-2 first quarter led to a slight let-up in Amherst’s defense in the second. The Rangers bounded back on the shooting of Isabella Geraci, who had six points in the period.
Teammates Sharde Tucker and Lauren Milner chipped in three point shots to keep North Ridgeville in the game with a 27-18 finish to the half.
“We gave up a lot of layups; we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds. We’re young. We’re learning. I think tonight was a huge learning experience for us,” said coach Kevin Collins after the game.
Amherst made adjustments during halftime and the character of the game changed with more aggressive defense and offense on both sides. The Comets kept their edge and their cool.
“We know that about our team. They can make things happen. They can create. They get tips. They get deflections, get loose balls, and that creates offense for us. We know we’re going to do that. We just have to get better at it,” Collins said.
Amherst had already scored 12 points from the free throw line in the first half as Roule went six-of-six and Kate Illiff and Dziak each tipped in two. In the second half the vigorous play led to more fouls and the Comet answered.
That was the difference in the game, Collins pointed out — the Amherst girls kept their composure and knocked down shots when they had to at the end.
Roule ended the game 10-of-10 at the line. Dziak and Iliff both claimed six-of-six and Audrey Fayer topped the cake at 75 percent.
Collins said of Fayer: “She’s our spark plug. She usually guards the other team’s point guard. She makes things happen. She feels like she played a terrible game, but she made things happen. She got some huge free throws at the end.”
Once again the leading scorers in the 54-45 conference win were Roule with 21 and Dziak shooting for 14.
Rebounding was a large factor in the outcome of the game. Hall came into her own with eight rebounds while the Comets’ tall center, Tori Small, grabbed six.
“Tori’s been a monster. She’s one of the hardest workers we have,” Collins said. “She continues to crash the boards and do some great things. She had to play a little more tonight because of the big girl they have, but she stepped up and she battled and she got a ton of rebounds and plugged up the middle.”
Other scorers for Amherst were Hall with nine, Iliff with six, Fayer hit for three points, and Small with one.
Leading scorers for the Rangers were Cianna Bright shooting 14, Danielle Blagojevic making 10, Milner for seven, and Alyson Hollis with six.
Photos by Carl Sullenberger | Amherst News-Times Going up for a shot Tuesday is Kate Iliff, who had one shot from the court but went six-of-six from the line in Amherst’s 54-45 Southwestern Conference win over the North Ridgeville Rangers.