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Kent Roosevelt knew it was facing one of its toughest challenges of the season during the opening round of the Tallmadge Holiday Classic on Thursday.
The Rough Riders had to deal with a motivated Stow team, which was looking to earn career victory 200 for coach Bob Podges.
Stow held Roosevelt to single field goals in the second and third quarter, paving the way to a 44-33 win.
Stow improved to 7-2 with the win, while Roosevelt dropped to 5-5.
Roosevelt will play Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy in tonight's third-place game at 6 p.m., while Stow will play Tallmadge in the title game at 7:30 p.m.
It was a ragged game at times, which both coaches attributed to the fact their respective teams hadn't been able to to practice for five days, due to the holidays and weather.
"It was a kind of strange," said Roosevelt coach Craig Foreman. "At the end of second quarter and beginning of the third, they just had a big run and we couldn't respond. I just couldn't put my finder on it tonight."
Podges said his team played better than the score indicated.
"Our defense as really good tonight," Podges said. "We took a lot of good shots tonight, but they just didn't fall. (Forward) Danielle (Tiller) must have had about five shots tonight that hit everything but down."
Podges said he was honored to break the 200-win barrier with his current team.
"This is a very good group of girls," Podges said. "They're very coachable and fun to be around."
Roosevelt started well, thanks to shooting of Jenn Doershuk.
Doershuk nailed a trio of 3-point shots in the first quarter, helping Roosevelt take a 12-8 lead after eight minutes.
However, Doershuk was didn't hit another basket in the game.
The Rough Riders also benefited from the fact Stow seemed to have a lid on the basket during long stretches of the first half.
A backdoor layup from forward Libby Bradford pushed the lead to 14-10 with about five minutes left in the second quarter.
Unfortunately for the Rough Riders, those would be their only points in the second quarter.
Stow guard Sam Shaver, who did not start as she was feeling ill, spurred a 9-0 run to end the first half. Stow's offense still wasn't humming, but the Bulldogs took a lead of 19-14 at halftime.
The Bulldogs hit the accelerator to start the second half on a 5-0 run, pushing the lead to 24-14 before their shooting woes returns.
Roosevelt couldn't take advantage, however, as a putback layup from Megan Thomas at the four-minute mark and a free throw from Justin Fortson accounted for all Roosevelt's scoring in the quarter.
"They just seemed to be very long," Foreman said. "They just kept blocking our shots every time we put them up. And they weren't fouls. The referees did a good job."
Up 30-17, Stow looked to put the game away, but again saw shots rimming out.
Despite this, Stow led by as many as 17 points midway through the fourth quarter.
Then the Rough Riders made things interesting.
Forward Courtney Olesh scored seven of her nine points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer with 1:33 that cut the least to 40-33.
Olesh also led the Rough Riders with 11 rebounds
Foreman called time out after the basket, but would be as close as the Rough Riders got, as Stow's defense clamped down in the final 90 seconds.
Stow guard Christina Vaughn led all scorers with 11 points, including three trifectas of her own.