Leetonia was leading by seven points at halftime.
By GREG GULAS
NORTH LIMA -- Crystal Schuler scored 19 points and South Range High held Leetonia to just 18 second-half points, as the Raiders remained unbeaten with a 65-48 victory on Tuesday.
South Range (12-0), entering the contest ranked 17th in the state poll, relied on a stingy defense in the second half after their offense sputtered in the first 16 minutes of play. That put them on the short end of a 30-23 score at intermission.
"We talked defense at halftime, not offense," Raider coach Don Feren said. "We were getting good looks early in the first half, but the ball would not drop for us.
"When we were able to run in the second half, we fared better offensively. They are an excellent team so we couldn't let them dictate the tempo of the game."
Raiders rally: The Bears (5-8) entered the game with a two-game winning streak, and looked like anything but a sub-.500 team early on. They jumped out to an 8-2 lead less than two minutes into the game, then watched as the Raiders, with Kelly James and Schuler scoring four points apiece, scored 10 of the next 12 points to take a 12-10 lead after one period.
Leetonia's Jessica DeVille scored six points, keying a 14-2 run at the outset of the second period, as the Bears built a 24-14 lead and took the seven-point lead into the locker room.
"You have to credit our four seniors for their play," Feren said. "Jenn Toth keeps us together, and Becky Skowron, Crystal Schuler and Kristin Skrinyer do what they are asked to in any given situation."
The Raiders looked more like a ranked team after intermission as their defense held the Bears to just 18 points (nine in each quarter). Schuler scored 15 of her game-high 19 points in the second half as South Range exploded for 42 points.
The Raiders went on an 18-6 run to start the third period to build a 41-36 lead and held a 43-39 edge entering the fourth.
Skowron's four points keyed an 11-7 run at the outset of the final period as South Range increased the lead to 54-48, and Schuler and Skowron scored seven points each in the quarter as the Raiders finished the game on an 11-0 run.
Shooting: South Range didn't shoot exceptionally well from the field, making 28-of-74 shots, while the Bears were 20-for-38.
The Raiders grabbed 38 rebounds to Leetonia's 29. Kelly James had nine rebounds and Schuler added five for South Range.
Also scoring in double figures for South Range was Skowron (15), James (10) and Skrinyer (10), while Jackie Durham had a team-high 13 points for the Bears. DeVille (12) and Jenna Santini (10) also scored in double digits.