Knights win despite fourth quarter struggles

Published 10:39 am Friday, January 10, 2014

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The Terra Ceia women’s basketball team pulled out a hard-fought victory at home against Bethel Assembly Christian Academy, 30-19.

The Knights came out of the locker room with a definite defensive game plan, executing it to perfection in the first half. Led by their captain, junior Taylor Newman, Terra Ceia’s 3-2 zone defense contested every mid-range jumper the Eagles attempted.

The Knight’s leader on the floor, who is averaging 10.3 points this season, seemed to be everywhere at once defensively. Swatting inbounds passes, picking defenders pockets and intercepting passes, No. 12 proved to be the Knights’ facilitator in the first half.

“I’ve got some quick guards who are good at anticipation and cause a lot of turnovers that way,” said Head Coach Daren Hubers.

Unable to secure good mid-range opportunities, Bethel was forced to venture inside the paint, where center Brittany Evans and forward Alyssa Fairless were met by Terra Ceia’s tenacious shot blocker and rebounder, Ragan Lefever.

“[Lefever] came off a really good game Tuesday night,” said Hubers. “She played well in the first half, but in the second half she struggled a bit. She came through with some good defense and some really good rebounds.

Up 15-5 at halftime, the Knights came out of the locker room fatigued, unable to knock down the mid-range jumpers and layups they made with ease in the first half. Lefever continued to get offensive rebound after offensive rebound, but failed to get the ball in the hoop.

Even Newman, who was undoubtedly the best player on the floor in the first half, was quieted offensively. However, defensively Newman maintained her intensity, continued to force important turnovers and command the floor.

“[Newman] is an all-around good player,” said Hubers. “She does everything—offense, defense, good at handling the ball. She just does a really good job for us, whatever position we need her to play.”

Even with Newman on the bench for the majority of the third quarter, Terra Ceia took an authoritative 21-7 lead into the fourth. Just when the game looked out of reach, the Eagles stormed back late in the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run with under five minutes left. The 13 point lead shrunk to just seven with 1:23 left on the clock.

“We just could not shoot…could not find the basket at all,” said Hubers. That was, until Lefever and Newman hit a pair of clutch twos with under a minute left to seal the victory.

Newman finished with eight points and 14 steals, while LeFever collected 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Terra Ceia Knights hit the road to take on Ridgecroft tonight at 6 p.m.