Monday, January 16th, 2012
Cardinals rally to beat Roughriders
By Gary R. Rasberry
New Bremen's Amber Paul, 23, gets a shot off in front of St. Marys' Reagan Aller. . .
ST. MARYS - Things looked bleak for New Bremen with seven minutes to go in the second quarter as the Cardinals were down 23-10 to St. Marys.
Then, all of the sudden, things changed in a hurry.
The Cardinals came back to tie the game at 27-all by halftime and then rallied again in the fourth quarter to pick up their fifth win of the season with a 53-47 triumph over the Roughriders at Murotech Court.
The Roughriders got out to a strong start in taking the lead early as Molly Albert hit her first five shots of the game and Ashleigh Falk forced New Bremen into a zone defense after driving for buckets early.
But the changeover took place after Falk's bucket with seven minutes left found the Roughriders up by 13 points. New Bremen went on a 17-4 run as St. Marys could not handle the full-court pressure defense - turning the ball over 11 times in the quarter.
Kyla Otting scored nine points in the second quarter and Julie Brown hit a pair of free throws with 1:28 to go to tie the game at 27-all. St. Marys got into foul trouble, allowing the Cardinals to go 10-of-16 from the charity stripe in the first half.
"All I told them is that we had to keep applying pressure on (St. Marys)," said Cardinals' coach Randy Eckert. "We came out and went into our diamond press (1-2-2 trap) and (St. Marys) started having turnovers. We got some momentum and they just started taking off from there and playing the way I expect them to play."
"In the second quarter, when they put that pressure on us, we folded and made a lot of turnovers," said Roughriders' coach Kelly Fulmer. "They were able to score out of it. That kind of got (New Bremen) into rhythm and got some confidence on their behalf and lowered our confidence level a little bit. It was a back-and-forth match the rest of the way."
St. Marys looked to get back on track at the start of the third quarter as the Roughriders scored the first six points. New Bremen rebounded and trailed 40-37 going into the final quarter.
It took 95 seconds before someone could score, and it was the Cardinals' Haley Moeller with a three-pointer to tie the game up at 40. Amber Paul followed with a bucket to give the Cardinals their first lead since early in the game at 42-40. The teams traded scores for the next few minutes with the score tied up again at 44 with 3:13 to go. Kyla Otting broke the tie for the final time, hitting an open three with 2:45 to go to put the Cardinals up 47-44.
"It was big," said Eckert of Otting's game-winner. "Very big shot at a crucial time. We needed it. She's got the green light to shoot. She's our best three-point shooter. Good ball rotation-movement, getting the defense to move over and she was wide open."
From there, it was a steady run to the foul line, where the Cardinals, who finished the day hitting 21-of-34 free throws, hit six of their final eight to keep the Roughriders at bay.
"It's good to get a win. It didn't look good at the end of the first quarter," said Eckert. "We just kept fighting, scratching, whatever you want to say. We got it."
"In the end, we had to foul and they were cashing in on their foul shots and were able to win the game," said Fulmer.
While Otting led the Cardinals with 18 and Moeller added 13, it was Paul's play in the fourth quarter that was a big key. Paul scored eight of her 12 points in the final quarter, including a perfect 6-of-6 from the foul line.
"She was rebounding. She went to the foul line and hit her foul shots," said Eckert of Paul. "... She came off the bench and did a great job."
Falk led St. Marys with 17 with Albert scoring 14.