It was a decidedly different Lady Comets team that challenged the Titans on Saturday.
The first meeting was the story of an inexperienced Amherst squad against a seasoned Berea-Midpark line-up. The Lady Comets have since sharpened their skills and learned how to win against just about any foe, making round two a contest between equals.
“We’re a completely different team than the first game. We’re such a young team that the first time we went in a little shell shocked in the beginning,” was coach Kevn Collins’ assessment.
After an exciting double overtime match between the junior varsity teams, which the Comets won 52-49, a tough varsity game with a close score was anticipated. The Titans and Comets did not disappoint.
The first quarter was the warmup for both sides as the Titans hit three times from 20 feet or better with triple-pointers by Lexy Siggers (who also made a hoop), Makayla Holivay, and Lexie Scarton. Additional baskets by Miranda Otero and Amaya Johnson accounted for Berea-Midpark’s 15 points.
Amherst’s 14 points were made by Tori Small, Sydney Roule, and Jayla Hall, who hit twice, while freshman Kamryn Dziak punched in a three-point shot of her own. Hall also bagged a free throw and Audrey Fayer sank the first two of her foul shots.
The next period was more of the same as Roule scored three times, once beyond the arc, Hall scored twice, and Dziak made her final shot of the game. She took a hit to the head and had to leave the match.
The Comets continued their outstanding foul shooting. Fayer completed her four of four for the half, Roule also went four of four, Kate Iliff two of two, and Kelsey Gonos got on the board with one.
“Our girls fought. They fought against adversity. We had a really big injury to one of our primary guards. The girls stepped up and they kept playing hard,” Collins said.
“We lost (Dziak) halfway through the second quarter but Kelsey Gonos and Audrey Fayer stepped up and did a good job. Marisa Gillam, a girl who played JV in the first game, stepped in and hit a huge three for us.”
The response by the Titans was nine baskets including another three-pointer by Scarton. Jada Marone added four from the foul line in the 40-36 Titans’ leading halftime score.
Though it didn’t seem possible, the score tightened in the third quarter as neither team could rack up more than a three point advantage.
Roule and Iliff scored twice in the period while Hall made her fifth basket of the evening. Hall went three of three at the foul line and Roule sank her fifth.
Marone got hot and made a pair of shots for the Titans from beyond the arc to keep Berea-Midpark ahead 53-50.
The Titans surprised Amherst at the start of the fourth with a quick seven points for their biggest lead of the game, making it 57-50.
After a timeout, the Comets came back with a vengeance to climb within one point at 59-58. Amherst dogged Berea-Midpark, pulling to 65-63 with less than two seconds to go with just enough time for a Roule three-pointer.
Unfortunately, time ran out and the 65-63 score held.
Amherst’s record is now 12-4 and 9-3 in the SWC.
“We put ourselves in a situation to get that last second shot and win the game. And, that’s all you can ask for,” Collins said.
In the final period, Gillam made her three-pointer and a foul shot, Roule hit her seventh basket, and Iliff tacked on three more baskets.
Totals were Roule 7-5-20 for 216 season points, Hall 5-4-14, Iliff 5-3-13, Dziak 2-0-5, Fayer 0-4-4, Gillam 1-1-4, Tori Small 1-0-2, and Gonos 0-1-1.
Leading scorers for the Titans were Miranda Otero 5-5-15, Marone 4-4-14, and Zoranne Host 5-1-4.
Photos by Carl Sullenberger | Amherst News-Times Junior Jayla Hall looks for another of her 14 game points (she has 153 total to date) Saturday against Berea-Midpark’s Lexy Siggers’ defense. The Comets lost the hotly contested Southwestern Conference match 65-63.