Posted: Friday, November 13, 2015 12:00 am | Updated: 12:14 am, Fri Nov 13, 2015.
By AARON KENNEDY firstname.lastname@example.org
ROSSVILLE – The Rossville girls’ basketball team got out on the right foot Thursday night with a 52-41 season-opening win over the Cass Kings.
The Hornets scored the first four points of the night, but back-to-back 3-pointers from Cass junior forward Olivia Collins gave the Kings the lead halfway through the opening period. It was the only time in the game the Kings would hold the advantage though, as a solid defensive effort put forth by the Hornets limited Cass to just 12 first-half points.
Rossville head coach Chad Geheb was pleased with what he saw out of his Hornets in their first outing.
“They play hard,” he said. “They give me everything they have – not only here for 32 minutes, but they have really worked hard in practice. We have implemented a new man defense, they were not used to in the past, and they have been really open in accepting that.
“That’s what we are going to have to really hang our hat on,” he added. “That’s the name of the game. We work hard on defense. From there, we hope that we can push the basketball a little bit and get good possessions. “
Up 22-12 at halftime, the Hornets scored the first six points of the third quarter and later pushed their lead to 32-14 before the Kings put together a 10-point run to get their selves back into the game.
Rossville turnovers helped the Kings keep the Hornets from blowing the game wide open.
“Our defense didn’t get worse, but we didn’t handle the pressure very well,” Geheb said. “They went to a press that we have been working on this week and talked about at halftime but just didn’t really react very well to. That’s something we are definitely going to work on. We knew that coming in, but you can only simulate so many things early in the season. We saw a lot of good things tonight, but there are some things we need to work on. Overall, I am happy with how things went.”
Cass trimmed what had once been an 18-point margin to just five with just over three minutes remaining to play, but Rossville went 7-of-10 at the foul line down the stretch to hold on for the win.
“We got a timeout and did turn the corner a little bit,” Geheb said. “We handled the pressure a little bit better in the fourth quarter. We were able to get to the free throw line and make some free throws. I thought our defense and rebounding were just excellent all night. We talked about that before the game. We talk about finishing on the defensive end and getting rebounds. That was the key tonight.”
Maggie Deboy sparked the Hornets’ offense with her ability to drive to the basket. The sophomore point guard finished with 11 points and was able to open things up for junior center Keely Criswell underneath. Criswell finished with a team-high 18 points, while forward Julia Malson’s 10 points gave Rossville three players in double figures.
“We knew coming in that was going to be our point of attack,” Geheb said. “But, we also have some other kids out there who have been working hard on their game and we still have a ways to go. We need to improve our bench play a little bit and get some more experience. But, I like the way we started tonight. The girls have worked hard, and I think we have a good foundation for hopefully a good year. We will see. So far, we have some pretty decent results.”
Collins accounted for nearly half of the Knights’ scoring, finishing with a game-high 20 points, while junior guard Savanna Thompson added 17.
Rossville’s junior varsity lost the early game, 34-32.
HORNETS 52, KINGS 41
Criswell 7 4-5 18, Malson 5 0-0 10, Zink 1 2-2 4, Roberts 2 2-4 6, Deboy 4 3-5 11, Taylor 1 0-0 3. Totals – 20 11-16 52.
Collins 5 7-8 20, McClain 1 0-0 2, Thompson 4 6-6 17, Minnick 1 0-0 2. Totals – 11 13-18 41.
Cass 6 6 14 15 – 41
Rossville 10 12 12 18 – 52
3-Point Goals – Rossville 1 (Taylor), Cass 6 (Collins 3, Thompson 3), Fouled out – none. Total fouls – Rossville 13, Cass 14.