TAC GIRLS Girard jumps on opportunity to blast way past Champion
A 19-0 run over two quarters enabled the Indians to turn a 26-20 deficit into a 67-46 victory.
By BOB ROTH
CHAMPION -- "Explosive" was the best description for the Girard High girls basketball team in its 67-46 victory Thursday over Champion.
It was the sixth consecutive win for the Indians (15-1, 12-1), who are tied for first place in the Trumbull Athletic Conference with Hubbard.
"In the early going, we were in trouble with Champion being very patient with their offense and not missing many shots," Girard coach Andy Saxon said. "Then our run and jump, along with our trapping defense, seemed to tire them, and we took advantage of their fatigue."
Lesson: What Girard learned against the Flashes (8-8, 7-5) is not to look ahead and just tend to business. That is exactly what it did beginning at the 2-minute, 10-second mark of the second quarter.
Trailing 26-20 after a Brianne Kochunas 3-pointer for Champion, the Indians went on a 7-0 run to lead 27-26 at halftime.
It was the first lead for them since a basket opened the game by Kristen Ragozine. The first 3:13 of the second half then put the game away for Girard.
A 12-0 blitz -- making it a 19-0 run over two quarters -- had the Indians leading 39-26. Champion had five turnovers in the last two minutes of the first half, 12 in the third quarter and finished with 25 for the game.
Girard trailed 19-10 after the first quarter, with the Flashes running a patient and deliberate offense, as Kochunas had seven of her team-high 14 points in that opening period.
Two keys to Girard's comeback were junior Stephanie Scarnecchia and freshman Cachet Murray.
With Girard trailing 21-14 in the second quarter, Scarnecchia scored six straight points to slice Champion's lead to 21-20. Murray scored 12 of her 20 points in the first half.
Players determined: "When we were behind, we were determined to win, and I knew if I was given any room, I could drive on their defenders," Murray said.
Scarnecchia's fullcourt pass to Murray for an easy lay-up following a Champion turnover gave the Indians that 27-26 halftime lead, which was never relinquished.
Girard's Tealle Hunkus, who had just three first-half points, exploded for 13 in the third quarter and finished with 20 points and 12 of her team's 33 rebounds.
She showed offensive versatility with a pair of 3-pointers and three putbacks as a result of offensive rebounds.
"Girard is very athletic and their kids can really run the floor, so we knew we had to be deliberate and dictate the tempo," Champion coach Jeff Thompson said. "But as soon as they spread the floor, we were fortunate to get one shot at a time, and their athleticism became too much for us."