By Michael Leonard | Record Publishing Co.
Having not practiced for five days prior to its opening-round game Thursday at the Tallmadge Holiday Classic, the Kent Roosevelt girls basketball team looked rusty and disjointed in its loss to Stow.
About 24 hours later, the Rough Riders still looked rusty at times.
Despite some rough patches in the first quarter, Roosevelt outmuscled Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy 44-36 to win the consolation game of the Classic on Friday.
Roosevelt improved to 6-5, while CVCA dropped to 3-7.
Roosevelt coach Craig Foreman said lack of practice the previous week probably hindered his team.
"Once we got going we were fine," Foreman said. "We just had some mental lapses. I challenged some of our girls to work on fundamental things and they did."
Neither team looked in sync offensively early. Roosevelt dominated the rebounding game, but gave up a bunch of turnovers in the first quarter.
CVCA held an 8-7 lead after one quarter.
However, that's when the Rough Riders' frontcourt asserted itself.
Brianna Rock scored eight of her team-high 19 points in the second quarter, all of which came on layups.
"She played hard tonight," Foreman said. "A lot of times, it seems where she goes is where we go, so I'm glad she stepped up."
Meanwhile, Courtney Olesh vacuumed the boards and ensured that CVCA's offense was kept to a minimum. Olesh finished with four points and 11 rebounds.
Up 23-14 at halftime, Roosevelt seemed to salt the game away by opening up the second half on a 7-0 run.
Erin Gray keyed the run, as she scored all eight of her points off layups in the third quarter.
Some tough baskets by CVCA guard Ashley Tina kept the Royals in the game, but Roosevelt still led 36-24 after three quarters.
Tina led the Royals with 19 points.
Just when the Rough Riders seemed to have things under control, their offense fell apart.
CVCA's press started to pay dividends, allowing the Royals to open the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run.
With the lead down to 36-31, Roosevelt didn't score in the fourth quarter until Rock nailed a pair of free throws with 2:36 left in the game.
CVCA kept coming, however, cutting the lead to 38-34 with 2:20 left.
That would be as close as the Royals got, as Rock and Justina Fortson went 6-of-6 from the line in the game's final two minutes.