Young Lineup Has Strong Debut

Members of the St. Marys bench celebrate Kiley Tennant's half-court shot that she made at the buzzer during a non-league girls basketball game against Fort Jennings
Sports Editor

Once they knew which way they were going on the court, the St. Marys Roughriders had no problems taking care of business.

With each team opening the game going the wrong direction on the floor — call it early-season jitters — St. Marys outscored Fort Jennings 28-15 in the first half, with the help of 11 first-half turnovers, to open the season with a 52-41 victory on Friday.

In what will likely be the case throughout the season, the Roughriders (1-0) started three freshmen — Elena Menker, Noelle Ruane and Kendall Dieringer and the trio scored a combined 26 points — 14 from Dieringer — and accounted for more than half of the Musketeer’s first-half miscues.

Fort Jennings (0-1) led just once — a bucket by Kristen Luersman to open the game — but never led again after a 3-pointer by Lauren Cisco as part of a 14-2 Roughriders’ run that saw St. Marys force eight turnovers, scoring nine of those 14 points off those turnovers. At one point, the Riders scored seven straight points — all by Dieringer — to lead 12-4 with 3:06 remaining in the first quarter.

“I am really proud of our defense,” Roughriders coach Jon Burke said. “We were playing really good defense at the end of last year and I felt like this team is really coming out and starting this season they way we ended last year.

“I am proud of our leadership in Kat (Kathryn Elshoff ) and Clare (Caywood) our seniors and then Lauren, Carly and Ally, our juniors. They were there last year and they knew what the speed needed to be for our freshmen to pick that up and our freshmen have really taken in that guidance very well.”

The St. Marys defense forced two more turnovers in the second quarter and surrendered just six points to push a seven-point first quarter lead to 13 points at the half.

Menker scored all eight of her points in the second half and accounted for eight of St. Marys’ 12 points in that stanza.

Carly Caywood and Cisco both finished with eight points, while Ruane and Felver both tallied four.

To read the full story, see Saturday's print edition of The Evening Leader.