South Range stayed unbeaten in the Inter-County League.
By JOHN KOVACH
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NORTH LIMA -- South Range High's defensive pressure caused 10 steals in the first quarter to help stake the Raiders to a 22-6 lead, and they went on to post a 59-44 win over Mineral Ridge Monday in an Inter-County League girls basketball game.
The victory enabled South Range to remain unbeaten and maintain a share of first place in the ICL with Western Reserve, which defeated Springfield, 44-39.
"We are going to try to get pressure on people. That's our game," said coach Don Feren, whose Raiders (10-0, 5-0) took a 40-25 lead at the half. "When we didn't do that in the second half, they came back."
Downfall: Coach Darren Garris of Mineral Ridge (7-3, 3-2) said the turnover-plagued first quarter hurt the Rams.
"[South Range's] 10 steals in the first quarter, scoring on six of them, is why we got in a hole," said Garris. "And they ran their offense well.
Leaders: Crystal Schuler fired in 22 points -- 16 in the first half -- to lead the Raiders' balanced attack, and she also contributed eight rebounds. Kelly James chipped in with nine points, while Jenn Toth and Becky Skowron added eight apiece.
Jessie Clayton accounted for five of South Range's 10 first-quarter steals and also finished with six points.
"We got good pressure on them in the first quarter, but they got into a half-court game with us [in the second half], and they were able to slow the pace of the game down so that they can pick and choose their shots, because we weren't pressing," said Feren.
Added Garris: "We were throwing some bad passes. We were making some poor choices. A lot of it was turnovers, and we didn't start [the game] that well. You can't come out against any team like that."
Ram standouts: Dariana Casado led Mineral Ridge with 16 points while Tiffany Hack had 15, including three 3-point goals. Sara Gerberry gathered 10 rebounds and also scored six points.
Mineral Ridge challenged South Range in the third quarter with a 8-2 run that pulled the Rams within 44-33, but they couldn't maintain the attack and fell behind 50-33.
The Rams bounced back with a 9-5 run in the fourth period to climb within 55-43, but Schuler countered with a goal to blunt the momentum.