Until halftime, when the Comets led the Bulldogs 26-25, Saturday’s girls basketball game was good but not notable.
Then everything changed.
Amherst blazed away at the basket at the start of the third, ringing up 15 points before the Bulldogs were able to score.
“We started moving the ball,” said coach Kevin Collins. “We told Sydney (Roule) at halftime, ‘They’re doing a good job of face guarding,’ trying to take her away. We told her she had to go get the ball but they were jumping it. We put four shooters on the floor and they did their job. We caught fire and scored 29 points in the third quarter.”
The streak propelled the Amherst girls to a 73-66 Southwestern Conference victory.
Jayla Hall and Kamryn Dziak each scored three times in the first half and Dziak twice beyond the arc. Roule and Faith Lewis each sank one. At the foul line Amherst went six of six — three for Roule, two of those by Audrey Conhihe, and one by Hall.
Olmsted Falls shooter Clare Kelly made 13 points, six from the free throw line. Fellow scorer Sarah Balfour was still warming up with six, Danielle Stevens scored four, and Chloe Akins had a basket.
The decisive third quarter opened with a trey by Kate Iliff. Hall tagged two hoops and Roule one before Marisa Gillam launched back to back three point shots.
A Bulldogs timeout slowed Amherst’s shooting down a little but not by enough to save the game. Iliff made another trey, followed by a three from Dziak. Hall scored three baskets in a row with Roule taking the honor of the final Comets goal of the period.
Ahead, 55-42 going into the fourth quarter, the Comets maintained their lead for the remainder of the match in spite of relentless effort by Stevens, who scored 15 points in the third, and Balfour, who rang up four more.
The fourth saw the Bulldogs get their shooting back on track but it was too little, too late.
Kelly scored four times plus a pair of free throws and Balfour and Stevens three times each for a combined 24 points.
Amherst kept up the pressure, drawing fouls from the Bulldogs. The Comets went seven of eight on free throws in the half to total 93 percent for the game.
“We’ve been there all year. I think we’re over 70 percent,” said Collins. “We’re very confident from there. We were trying to get our girls more aggressive to get there. So that’s the kind of the team we’ve become. When you have the lead in the fourth quarter and you can knock free throws, you’re going to win a lot of games.”
Hall scored twice more in the fourth, Dziak and McConihe made a hoop each, and Iliff shot her third trey.