The unbeaten Raiders put four players in double figures in the 60-57 win.
By JOHN BUTERA
EAST PALESTINE -- Balanced scoring was the key for South Range Thursday night as the Raiders improved to 2-0 by placing four of their starters in double figures in a 60-57 win over East Palestine.
Heather Stacy and Annie Semko led the way with 14 points each, as the Raiders overcame a poor fourth quarter shooting effort. East Palestine didn't fair much better in the last stanza, starting the period 1-of-6 and ending 3-of-13.
"We're learning a new system," said Raiders coach David Owen, "and the girls are working hard as we go along."
Cold spell at end
The Raiders began the last period missing 11 of their first 12 shots. In fact, the teams combined to go 1-of-16 over the first three minutes of the quarter.
"I still had faith in the girls," said Owen. "I told them to keep working the ball for a good shot and to keep believing the that the next one would go in."
Trailing 34-28 at the half, East Palestine took the lead with a 9-1 run to start the third period. Sam DiCello, who led the Bulldogs (0-1) with 23 points and three 3-pointers, tied the score at 35 with 6:01 remaining, and two free throws from Emilee Givens put East Palestine ahead, 37-35, at the 5:30 mark.
Held slim lead
The remainder of the quarter saw four ties and four lead changes before the Raiders took a 45-44 lead into the final period.
East Palestine trailed 49-45 before a DiCello basket with 4:47 remaining, but the Bulldogs would not score another field goal until DiCello's 3 with 2:53 to go.
That made it 54-51 but South Range's Autumn Carter made two baskets to give the Raiders a 58-51 lead with 1:13 remaining.
"We had a couple of droughts," said Bulldogs coach Bob Wright. "Plus we don't like giving up 60 points. We really don't like to talk about numbers but I think we needed to hold them to around 50.
"They hurt us inside as well. For about two and a half quarters we didn't have an answer for them underneath. Then when we made our run at the end, we weren't quite close enough."
East Palestine suffered at the foul line, making only 4-of-10 in the fourth quarter after going 8-for-9 prior to that.
The Raiders went on an 8-0 run that helped them build a 12-7 lead with 2:15 remaining in the first quarter. The Bulldogs went nearly four minutes between scores as the Raiders led 12-9 at the end of the period.
South Range made six of its first seven shots, taking its biggest lead, 27-14, with 5:01 remaining in the first half.
"Even when we were not scoring, I had all the faith in the world in the girls," said Owen. "We have some good senior leadership out there."
Peterson scored 12 points for the Bulldogs, Cindy Schuler and Carter rounded out the Raiders attack with 13 and 12 points, respectively.