Riding Momentum: St. Marys Wins 6th Of Last 8

Members of the St. Marys Roughriders girls basketball team’s bench celebrate after Lauren Cisco hits a 3-pointer during the second half of a non-league game against Marion Local.
Sports Editor

This was a confidence booster St. Marys desperately needed.

Earlier in the season, the Roughriders would typically lose close games in the fourth quarter, but Tuesday’s non-league match against Marion Local was just the opposite as the Roughriders scored 11 of the game’s 13 points in the final 28.8 seconds of the third quarter into the first 2:47 of the final period to win 49-43 against the Flyers.

After a rough start to the season that saw the Roughriders (7-8) with a 1-6 record, the girls basketball team has won six of eight and are riding that momentum with seed drawings in a couple of weeks.

“I thought tonight we did a better job of getting the ball into the post, making layups, getting those looks and shot selection was there,” Roughriders coach Jon Burke said. “We had some good looks and they fell for us tonight. We also did well with our free throws and that has been an Achilles’ heel for us.

“Tonight, it came together for us and we need to take this momentum and run with it.”

The game was tied at 26-26 with 28.8 seconds remaining in the third quarter when Noelle Ruane gave the Roughriders a two-point lead following her free throws, but Elena Menker’s 3-pointer off a Marion Local (7-8) turnover all of a sudden gave St. Marys a five-point lead — its largest lead of the game — heading into the fourth quarter.

The Riders opened the final quarter on a 6-2 run to ballooned their lead to 37-28 on a 3-pointer by Lauren Cisco, a bucket by Ruane and one free throw by Cisco.

In the meantime, the Roughriders defense forced three turnovers on the Flyers and limited them to 1-of-5 shooting from the floor. During St. Marys’ 11-2 run from the third and fourth quarters, the Flyers committed six turnovers in a span of 3:15.

Now the goal is to continue riding the momentum the Roughriders have created.

After the game, Burke said he was looking for his team to be at least a No. 3 seed in the sectional tournament — seedings are announced in 12 days on Feb. 3. Burke said if the Roughriders can go 4-0 in the next two weeks — including a game against Bath (7-7) that should be enough to get that No. 3 seed.

“We are trying to build our resume and out confidence for sectionals and anything can happen at sectionals,” he said. “We need to be ready to beat teams like this and tonight, I thought it worked.”