Ursuline defense puts the clamps on Rayen
The game had two of the area's top scorers, Rayen's Taniesha Holland and Ursuline's Tyra Grant.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The Ursuline High girls basketball team, close to finishing a torrid end-of-season schedule, gained a measure of revenge over the Rayen School on Saturday with a 60-45 victory.
A common thread in the victories over West Branch on Wednesday and Rayen has been Ursuline's defense. Saturday, the Irish took advantage of 11 Rayen turnovers in the second and third quarters to take control of the game.
The game had an extra aspect, pitting two of the area's top scorers, Rayen senior Taniesha Holland, who averages over 26 points per game, and Tyra Grant, the Ursuline junior who averages 27.
Grant finished with 24, while Holland was held to 11.
"We were doubling down on Holland every time she came off a screen," said Ursuline coach Sean Durkin. "Tiffani Miller and Cierra Bennett did an excellent job of defending Holland."
The Irish (15-3) led 23-20 late in the second quarter, but finished the half on a 6-0 run to lead by nine at the intermission.
Grant had 10 points in the third quarter, including six in a 10-0 run by Ursuline that made it 41-24.
"We wanted to force the tempo believing we had an open court advantage," said Durkin, "and Tyra took things over in that third quarter."
Grant added four steals and 10 rebounds, while Vannessa Dickson, Ursuline's junior point guard, had eight points and 10 rebounds.
"It is a letdown for me when I don't help the team," said Grant, "so it was good to get loose, both offensively and defensively in the third quarter."
Megan Saccomen, the only sophomore in the Ursuline lineup, finished with 10 points, four steals and six rebounds. She also played defense on Rayen's Rilonda Neal, the team's second-leading scorer. Neal finished with only two points.
Kenysha Tennant led Rayen (16-4) with 17 points, including four 3-pointers. Danielle Liggins added 12 points.
"We just didn't play up to our standard today," said Rayen coach Holly Seimetz, "and we let the game get away from us in the third quarter."
Ursuline finished 24-of-46 from the floor and held a 39-22 edge in rebounds. The turnovers were fairly even, with Rayen committing 16 and Ursuline 15.