Raiders hang on to edge pesky Tigers
3 players topped 10 in rebounds
By GARY HOUSTEAU
Even though three of South Range’s starting five were in double figures on the boards, Springfield kept Thursday’s game tight.
The Raiders hit enough of their free throws late in the contest to edge the Tigers, 51-47.
“I thought Kate [Yeagley] and Maddie [Durkin] were unbelievable on the boards,” South Range head coach Tony Matisi said. “I think they only got one shot all night long. Honestly I don’t know if they ever put two or three back to back, I can’t remember it.
“[We] controlled the boards.”
Durkin led the Raiders with 17 caroms and added four block shots. Yeagley was right behind her with 16 boards. Taylor Naples chipped in with 10 rebounds.
“[Durkin] was under the weather tonight,” Matisis said. “She was throwing up all before the game.
“She was drained out there offensively but she worked the boards hard and played defense.”
While Durkin was held to just eight points, Sam Patrone led the way with 16 points while Naples turned in a double-double by adding 12 points.
“I’m happy about the win,” Durkin said. “I wish I could have finished more around the hoop but as a team we played [well]. Everyone else made their shots.”
Springfield head coach Jim Schuler thought his girls battled hard.
“We had a good fight out there,” Schuler said. “They’re a pretty solid team, well-coached.
“I think the difference was some key things like rebounding and missed free throws. It comes down to a four-point game and you’re talking about a couple rebounds here and there and a couple of free throws and you’re talking about a swing the other way in a lot of different ways.”
Trailing 13-8 at the end of the first quarter, South Range caught up and took a 24-20 lead into the intermission. It was the Raiders’ largest lead of the first half.
And after stretching the lead to 10 at 33-23 in the third quarter, they couldn’t deliver the knockout blow as the Tigers continued to claw their way back into the game.
“Coming out the third quarter I thought we put a nice four minutes together but we couldn’t sustain anything,” Matisi said. “We got that 10-point [lead] and come down and make three or four bad trips and let them score, and they cut it to three again.
“We just couldn’t get away from them.”
South Range (7-7) took a 36-31 lead in the fourth quarter after Naples added a layup at the buzzer and it became a free throw shooting contest for much of the fourth.
The Tigers (8-4) were led offensively by Haley LaMorticella with 12 points while Mariah Johnson and Nicole Bovo each added seven.
LaMorticella, Johnson and Sara Chaszeyka all had four rebounds
“We’re young still and we keep improving but the beautiful thing is we’re battling and we’re competitive and we’re in the fight,” Schuler said. “And even if we have a run where we lose it a little bit, we still keep fighting back, and we can kind of make our run back.
“So we’re coming together a little bit and it’s nice.”
Matisi said the Tigers’ gym is “a tough place to play.”
“It’s probably our biggest rivalry and I knew Jimmy would have them ready,” Matisi said. “They’ve been playing good ball, they got a good record and they’ve been putting some wins together so we’re very happy to come in here and get a win.”