Posted: Saturday, November 21, 2015 12:43 pm | Updated: 12:49 pm, Sat Nov 21, 2015.
By AARON KENNEDY firstname.lastname@example.org
FULTON – It wasn’t always pretty, but the Rossville girls’ basketball team proved to be the better defensive squad Friday night, when the Hornets earned a 41-23 win over the Caston Comets.
Rossville jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead to start the game, but the Comets began to clamp down and cut the deficit to 8-5 by the end of the opening period.
Points again came at a premium in the second quarter, and the Hornets went to the locker room with a 16-9 advantage.
“It was definitely very rough,” First-year Rossville head coach Chad Geheb said. “We knew coming in that they were going to be very aggressive defensively, and we knew that we had to take care of the basketball. For the most part we got some very good shots earl on, but when those don’t go in, it just compounds everything else.”
After exchanging free throws to start the second half, Rossville junior guard Mallory Roberts was fouled while scoring in the paint and knocked down the foul shot to complete the 3-point play. Roberts play gave the Hornets a 10-point lead and broke the game open, as the Comets were never again able to pull back within single digits.
Rossville closed the game out at the foul line, where they scored nine of their 13 fourth-quarter points.
“It’s better to win ugly than to lose pretty,” Geheb said. “In the end, I thought our defense was really good. We held them to two points in the third quarter. We talked about when our offense isn’t particularly on, our defense is going to have to be what sustains us. That is what caused the separation in the third quarter. That and how we shot at the line. They did a fantastic job of setting the tone, and we hit 9-of-10 in the fourth quarter. Our defense and knocking down free throws and our toughness were the keys tonight against their tough defense.”
Maggie Deboy led all scorers with 15 points and came up with four steals, while Keely Criswell scored 10 and pulled down seven rebounds. Roberts finished with eight points, while Julia Malson finished with four points, six rebounds and two steals. Senior defensive stopped Taylor Zink led the Hornets in steals with six and chipped in three points.
Defense ruled the night, as Rossville finished with 16 steals, while Caston was right there with 15. The Hornets outrebounded the Comets, 23-19.
“When shots are not going in, we are going to have to crash the boards,” Geheb said. “We didn’t think we rebounded as well as we normally do. We had been rebounding exceptionally well. But we talked about crashing the boards, getting a putbacks and going to the line. Those are ways to get back in a flow when your offense isn’t working.”
Rossville’s junior varsity won the early game, 44-11.
The Hornets (3-0) travel to Clinton Prairie High School on Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. game against the cross-county rival Gophers.
HORNETS 41, COMETS 23
Criswell 4 2-2 10, Malson 2 0-0 4, Zink 1 1-2 3, Roberts 2 3-3 8, Deboy 4 7-9 15, Taylor 0 1-2 1. Totals – 13 14-18 41.
Rowe 1 2-2 4, Schanlaub 2 0-0 4, Holt 3 1-2 7, Hubenthal 0 3-4 3, Dively 1 0-0 3, Evans 0 2-2 2. Totals – 7 8-10 23.
Rossville 8 8 12 13 – 41
Caston 5 4 2 12 – 23
3-Point Goals – Rossville 1-5 (Roberts), Caston 1-10 (Dively). Fouled out – none. Rebounds – Rossville 23 (Criswell 7), Caston 19. Total fouls – Rossville 11, Caston 17.