Riders Get Much-Needed Win vs. Liberty Center

St. Marys' Shania Taylor shoots a layup in the second quarter of Thursday's non-league game against Liberty Center.
Sports Editor

The Roughriders needed this one.

Losers of three straight and four of their last six, St. Marys entered the third quarter in a tight affair, but used an 18-9 advantage, scoring on five straight possessions and eight of nine to end the third quarter to catapult the Riders to a 59-47 non-league win against Liberty Center Thursday night.

For just the third time in seven games, the defense surrendered fewer than 50 points, forcing 22 turnovers in the process and just 33 shot attempts compared to St. Marys’ 55.

Regardless, the Tigers (3-5) had a 31-29 lead within the opening minute of the third quarter, but the Roughriders rode a 14-6 run from there, sparked by a Sydney Cisco three to give St. Marys back its lead with 6:19 left.

The Roughriders scored on five straight possessions and six of their next seven to mount a 43-33 lead after another Cisco triple with 2:47 remaining in the third.

On the defensive end, the Riders limited the Tigers to 1-of-4 shooting from the field and two turnovers, while the offense pulled away during that span.

A key to that period, aside from timely threes and a strong defense, was the foul trouble Liberty Center’s Peyton Spieth and Jerica Hollenbaugh both got in as they each committed three halfway through the third during St. Marys’ run.

The Tigers did close the game to within seven to open the fourth on a three-pointer, and again to eight, 48-40 with 5:02 left, but the Roughriders scored on their next five possessions from there, eight of nine overall, to take a commanding 59-45 lead during an 11-5 run.

With Liberty Center’s 5-foot-10 Hollenbaugh at three fouls in the third as well as two in the first half and another 5-foot-10 center in Savannah Jenkins in foul trouble, the Riders prayed on the lack of size the Tigers had by feeding the ball to Shania Taylor and Makenna Mele.

The duo combined for 38 points — 19 points each — and 15 rebounds on 13-of-32 shooting inside the arch.

For the full story, read Friday's print edition of The Evening Leader.