The score might suggest that the 60-49 win by the Lady Comets over North Ridgeville was a walk in the park.
Nothing could be less true. The Rangers fought back to within five or six points in the second half Saturday but couldn’t close the early gap.
Amherst opened the game with a volley of shots from all over the court to confound any defense by the Rangers. In the first quarter, Sydney Roule found nothing but net for a pair of three-pointers to complement her earlier basket. Jayla Hall bagged her first two goals of the game and Kate Iliff tossed a basket and a three-point shot of her own for a 20-6 first quarter score.
In the second, North Ridgeville hit for four baskets but the Comets’ three hoops were a pair three-pointers by Kamryn Dziak and Iliff, with a two-point for good measure by Iliff.
The second half started with a 32-15 Lady Comets lead. North Ridgeville paced Amherst with four basket for each team. Rangers Isabella Geraci and Addysen Kerr powered the Rangers offense.
For Amherst, Tori Small chalked up a hoop while Hall sank three baskets. Amherst’s offense relied on the rebounding of the pair. Small had seven rebounds in the first half and added another three in the second.
Coach Kevin Collins explained the evolution of Small: “We were undersized this year. Our conference has a ton of post players and Tori is now coming into her own. It took her a couple of games to get comfortable but now she feels like she belongs out there.”
“The confidence she shows each play is growing.”
In the final period, Hall scored the only two baskets for the Comets as the Rangers challenged with five — three from the shooting prowess of Kerr.
However, foul shooting by the Comets was simply stellar. Hall went eight of 10, Roule four of six, Dziak and Small both sank two.
The 60-49 final was earned to the final seconds by the Comets from the aggressive and determined Rangers.
Hall led her team in scoring with 23 points.
“The biggest part of her success is her team is giving her easy looks. They get her the ball in good spots underneath and Jayla does a good job of getting herself open. But it’s all about her teammates finding her,” Collins analyzed the team’s dynamic on the court.
Another factor in the Comets’ 11-2 and 8-2 Southwestern Conference record is the multiple scoring threats from five members of the team.
“We’ve been consistent with that. We’ve four scoring 10 or more in the last six or seven games, but the one we don’t talk about is Tori Small,” Collins said. “She’s coming in battling. They had a really good post and she held her to four points. She battled with her the whole game.”
“She didn’t get all her looks but you can see it coming. That’s huge. We have five very good players who are going to help us out going down the stretch.”
Totals for the Comets were Hall with 7-9-23, Dziak 1-4-7, Roule 3-6-14, Iliff 4-1-11, and Small 1-2-4.
For the Rangers, Kerr went 7-7-21, Geraci 4-3-11, Samantha Shaw 2-1-5, Danielle Blagojevic 0-2-2, Emily Hilson 1-0-2, Lauren Milner 1-2-4, and Cianna Bright 2-0-4.
Photos by Carl Sullenberger | Amherst News-Times Jayla Hall goes for two more on Saturday in the 60-49 Comets win over North Ridgeville. Hall had seven baskets and went nine of 12 from the foul line for a team-leading 23 points.