RANDOLPH — The Blue Valley-Randolph girls' basketball team started strong and controlled the throughout the first half of Friday's game against Onaga.
Onaga made it an interesting game, and tied it once during the third quarter. But the Rams reclaimed the lead back and went on to win 43-37 at home.
Blue Valley head coach Matt Schreiber said that his team finding a rhythm so quickly allowed it to relax.
“I think we just finally came out and decided to put a half of basketball together,” Schreiber said. “(Last week) against Wetmore, we really could not get into an (offensive) flow and struggled at the free throw line. Once we got started and knocked down some free throws, we just got rolling, and you could see the smiles of their faces. They relaxed and let the game come to them. I thought we boxed out really well and closed out on defense in that first half to help us get into halftime ahead.”
The first quarter was low scoring, as the Lady Rams held a 10-5 advantage, but junior Landry Zoeller came through for the hosts — she led the team in scoring on the night with 13 points — and made two 3-pointers.
The hosts kept their lead heading into the second quarter, and they sustained it and added to it to go into halftime with a 22-14 lead.
“Any time you come into half ahead," Schreiber said, "you are excited."
The third quarter didn't go as well for the Lady Rams' (1-1) offense, as they only scored four points. And Onaga trimmed its deficit to just two points, 26-24, to enter the fourth quarter.
The Buffaloes made a key defensive switch in the second half made it difficult to score, Schreiber said.
“In the third quarter Onaga put a triangle-and-two on (Breanna Williams) and (Zoeller), trying to keep the ball out of their hands,” Schreiber said. “We've got to have somebody else in that situation step up for us and help us. That is part of us having a young team. Toward the end of the third quarter, Kirsten Allison, our post, did a great job for us. She came to play and made some big buckets.”
In the fourth quarter, Onaga (1-2) tied the game with 6:16 remaining with a layup. It had an opportunity to take the lead with a foul on the play, producing an and-one opportunity. But the visitors missed the free throw to keep the score at 28-all.
The Lady Rams got the lead back on their next possession and ended up creating some distance down the stretch. Allison had six points in the second half — part of her 11 in the game — to pad the lead.
“We were finally able to get some stuff going with some other girls stepping up big,” Schreiber said. “Rebounding on the offensive and defensive end is where we really got hurt in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, I thought we did a much better job rebounding and finding their shooters and being able to close out and get the ball down the court. And we pounded the ball inside to Kristen.”
With a young roster featuring five freshmen, three sophomores, one junior and two seniors, it was a key victory for the Lady Rams: to hold a lead, lose it and then stage a rally to win the game.
“They are excited, they are happy, and they had a great week of practice," Schreiber said. “We knew coming in this would be a great game for us. There were a lot of smiles in the locker room, and that is what you love as a coach.”