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Girls basketball crushes conference foes

By FRANK ACETO Associate Sports Editor Published: January 29, 2017 12:00 AM
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KENT -- Nine minutes, 59.9 seconds.

Twenty-four straight points.

Ten turnovers in the third quarter.

And to top it all off, no field goals in a span of more than 13 minutes.

It was that kind of afternoon for the Theodore Roosevelt girls basketball team. Tallmadge, on the other hand, sure didn't mind seeing those numbers.

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The Lady Blue Devils dominated the second half en route to a convincing 59-32 victory over the Lady Rough Riders in Suburban League American Conference play Jan. 21 in Kent.

Tallmadge, which also defeated Copley 52-31 Jan. 25 at James O. Maddox Court, improved to 13-3 overall and 6-2 in the American Conference.

When senior post player Samara Wright hit a free throw with 48.9 seconds left in the first half, Roosevelt was down 31-24.

The Lady Rough Riders didn't score again until the early stages of the fourth quarter.

"I thought we played a pretty good first half," Lady Blue Devils head coach Collin Epstein said. "We had to stop 11 [junior Kayla Fischer] on her drives, get a big down on 43 [Wright] and put a hand up on 44 [junior forward Sarah Bush]. They had a couple of shots that didn't go in and we scored on our end. I think it took the wind out of their sails."

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It certainly did.

The Lady Blue Devils rattled off 24 straight points to put the game out of reach.

When senior forward Jessica Gardella concluded the spurt with a layup, Tallmadge was up 55-24.

"They [the Lady Blue Devils] didn't change anything," Roosevelt head coach Craig Foreman said. "They outplayed us, they outhustled us they out-everything us. That's the first time that's happened all season."

The Lady Rough Riders missed all 14 of their shots and had 10 turnovers in the third. Tallmadge had a knack for getting in the passing lanes, knocking the ball out of Roosevelt players' hands and blocking shots.

If the ball wasn't blocked or lost, the Lady Blue Devils retrieved it from the rim.

"We were up pressing," Epstein said. "We didn't get a lot of steals, but we sped them up. We forced them to make bad passes."

Tallmadge had a 34-21 edge in rebounding, including 22-12 in the second half.

The Lady Blue Devils also had 10 offensive rebounds, including seven after halftime.

"Tallmadge is a great team," Foreman said. "They have people who can shoot like crazy. They're well-coached. What hurts is not the loss, but the way we lost."

A total of nine players scored at least two points for the Lady Blue Devils.

Junior guard Sara Johnson led all scorers with 15 points and senior guard Olivia Ayres and junior forward Maia Aizpurua each had 9 points for Tallmadge. Senior forward Jamie McGhee finished with 8 points for the Lady Blue Devils.

"Jessica had a really good game," Epstein said. "She has made some mid-range shots and is finishing around the hoop. We have girls who come off the bench that provide a lot of energy."

Wright led the Lady Rough Riders (6-9, 1-8) with 12 points and Bush added 8 points off the bench.

Neither team was particularly stellar from the free throw line. Tallmadge missed 12-of-20 shots and Roosevelt was a woeful 10-of-25.

Against the Lady Indians, the Lady Blue Devils had a 44-16 lead after three quarters.

A total of 11 players scored at least two points for Tallmadge. McGhee led the way with 16 points.

The Lady Blue Devils had a 30-19 advantage on the glass and forced 22 turnovers. Tallmadge earned a 46-26 win in the junior varsity contest.

The Lady Blue Devils were scheduled to visit American Conference rival Barberton Jan. 28. Results were were not available at press time.

Tallmadge is set to host American Conference foe Highland Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m.

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