Triton looked to hand visiting rival Midway its first varsity girls basketball loss of the season with a second-half rally, but some clutch free throws from freshman Rylie Williams helped the Raiders escape with 49-46 victory Friday.
“They (Triton) came to play tonight. They played a good game,” said Midway coach Allen McLamb. “First quarter we did everything we wanted to and ran the ball. Second quarter, we kind of just went through the motions of being here. Third quarter they came out and made some adjustments. I called timeout, told the kids what to do and we didn’t execute. I changed my lineup because I wanted to go fast and I liked what I saw. I just don’t think we had everybody here. We’ve played three games this week and we’re beat up a little bit. We’ll try to get into the gym Monday to fix some stuff and come back and play them again Tuesday. I’m hoping as a team that with these challenges, we’re growing and getting stronger.”
Triton coach Wendy Simmons did not have an answer for the reason for the Hawks’ slow start compared to the rest of the game.
“Just trying to find the answer as to why we start out so sluggish,” Simmons said. “We outscored them every quarter except for the first and I’m not sure why after we played so well for three games why the girls didn’t come out on fire on pumped up to take our home court against Midway. I just can’t explain it.”
Senior Alyssa Wrench recorded her third straight double-double, with 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Raiders (8-0). Included in her 17 points were a team high of 9-for-12 (75 percent) free throw shooting.
“Alyssa played hard for us,” McLamb said. “She did a bang-up job. They adjusted on her in the second half, but she kept fighting.”
J.J. Sankey had 11 points and seven rebounds. Rylie Williams had six points. Jenna Pope had three points and seven rebounds. Sydney Williams had three points and three assists. Kris McKoy had two points and four steals. Erin Barefoot had two points and three blocks. Kayla Jackson had two points.
Sophomore Anastasia McDonald had 15 points to lead the Hawks (2-4).
Senior Anaya Lockamy was limited by foul trouble in the first half, but was a major factor for Triton in the second half. She totaled eight points, nine rebounds and three assists.
“We gave her the green light, gave her the ball and told her to take it to the basket,” Simmons said. “We didn’t think anybody on that floor could stop her.”
Senior Hannah Jackson had one of her best performances as a Hawk with seven points, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
“We’ve been waiting for that,” Simmons. “We’ve put her on the bench a lot for not doing what she’s capable of doing. Tonight, we finally saw the Hannah that we saw earlier in the season. She played good defense and got some rebounds for us and was there on offense, too.”
Zoie Starling had four points and seven steals. Alexis Howard had four points and seven rebounds. Jordan Miles had one point.
Midway held a 41-27 lead late in the third quarter when McDonald scored five unanswered points to cut the lead to nine at the end of the third.
Triton opened the fourth quarter with nine more unanswered points to tie the game before a Sankey free throw put Midway back in front. But McDonald responded by giving Triton the lead for the first time with a layup with two minutes remaining in the fourth and a Starling free throw extended the lead to 44-42.
“Our defense stepped up a notch, so we were getting stops,” Simmons said. “And then we were able to push the ball up the court and take the ball to the basket, which is what we’ve been telling them to do offensively. We had some good looks at the basket and we just couldn’t hold on to that little lead once we got it.”
But after Pope scored to tie the game again, four straight free throws from Rylie Williams gave Midway a 48-44 lead.
After two more Starling free throws cut the lead to two, a Pope free throw pushed the lead to three with 10 seconds left.
“Our true freshman coming through and making four buckets from the foul line to win the game,” McLamb said. “That’s pressure and that makes me feel like she’s someone we can lean on.”
Coming out of a timeout, Starling got a potential game-tying three off in time, but got an unkind bounce off of the rim.
McLamb thought Pope came through with several key plays in the fourth for Midway.
“Jenna’s been out (injured) and we played her just a little bit the other night,” McLamb said. “She went out and took a charge and that charge was big and she got three key rebounds at a crucial time.”
The teams will meet again Tuesday when Triton travels to Midway.