Riders Find Way To Win 12th Straight

St. Marys' Ally Will drives to the basket during the first half of Tuesday's non-league girls basketball game against St. Henry.
Sports Editor

The Roughriders continue to find ways to win.

Guess that’s how they’re able to win 12 straight games.

Leading by just four with 2:34 left in Tuesday’s non-league girls basketball game against St. Henry, the Riders pulled into the bag of winning ways and pulled out their offense-by-defense game plan to come away with a 53-43 victory.

To break away from an 8-8 tie in the first quarter, the Roughriders turned to their perimeter shooting to overcome St. Henry’s size down low and ratchet up the defensive pressure in the second half to pull away in the third quarter and put the game away in the final minute.

“There were a couple of moments in the game that was big, especially in the second half and definitely in the fourth quarter,” Roughriders coach Jon Burke said. “They were making a run at us and we were able to make them turn the all over — really key turnovers — and convert those into transition points at key moments in the game.

“They brought it to within four points and it really could have gone either way. They were starting to get some good looks and our pressure at half court was just enough to keep it in our favor.”

St. Marys (15-4) tallied 11 points off Redskins’ (12-8) turnovers — six in the final 2:34.

The Redskins trailed 43-39 with 2:34 remaining in the game after Alyssa Buschur connected on a wide-open 3-pointer. After that, St. Henry scored just two more baskets in that final 2:34 and just one field goal in the next 2:25 as the Roughriders closed the game out with a 10-4 run — 10-2 before Buschur’s indifferent field goal in the final seconds.

But after Buschur pulled the game within four, the Riders burned 1:10 off the clock coming out of St. Henry’s timeout and concluded their possession with a Lauren Cisco drive and bucket from the right side.

Then the defense took over.

Kendall Dieringer stripped the ball carrier and quickly turned it into two points in transition and after Carly Caywood drove from the right side and connected on a layup off a Cora Stammen basket on the other end, the Redskins turned the ball over again, leading to an Ally Will transition layup to push the Riders’ lead to 51-41 with seconds remaining.

By then, the game was over, as the Redskins missed their next shot and fouled Dieringer, allowing the sophomore to drain a pair of one-and-one attempts to push the lead to 53-41.

“We knew that we needed to increase our defensive pressure and we weren’t doing that really well,” Burke said. “Also, 33 [Alyssa Buschur] is one of the best shooters in the area and she was getting open looks and we were leaving her. We needed to reconvene and making sure we were not leaving wide-open shooters on the 3-point line.

“More than anything, we just needed to keep our poise and know that we have control of the game, we have the ball and they need it so they are going to start fouling so you need to be strong. It was kind of like the beginning of the year against Wapak where it was the same situation where you just have to slow down, take care of the ball and that is a moment of growth. That is honestly why we have won so many of these games down the stretch by playing smart basketball with good IQ. And hopefully that continues.”