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Rhodes drives Danbury victory

December 19, 2012
Danbury High School



Rhodes drives Danbury victory

Lakers guard sinks three big threes

 

Matthew Horn

Sports writer

 

LAKESIDE TOWNSHIP — “We’re still in it,” Cardinal Stritch coach Terry Murnen exclaimed to his girls from the bench late in the first half.

He was talking about the offense the Cardinals were running, but there was no point Tuesday where his declaration didn’t hold true for both teams chances in Danbury’s 27-22 victory in the Toledo Area Athletic Conference.

Both teams struggled to establish any flow and they combined for four combined field goals as the score was tied 8-8 at the half. Cardinal Stritch scored six straight points courtesy of transition offense before the Lakers’ Cassidy Rhodes connected on three straight three-pointers from the wing in front of her bench to close the third quarter.

“I was in a groove,” Rhodes said. “I was just on and it worked out well.

“I knew we were down and needed to get momentum back.”

Danbury (3-3, 3-0) established the lead for good at 21-14 following Rhodes’ scoring outburst.

“They were huge,” Lakers coach Joe Fetzer said of Rhodes’ perimeter buckets. “The game was so close -- whether it was played well or not -- and those shots gave us some separation. (Seven points) looked insurmountable the way the game was going.

“It was a battle and I’m sure it will be a battle at their place.”

The Cardinals (3-4, 1-3) cut the deficit to three in the third quarter before Megan Stephens put back a missed three and Katie Almendinger knocked down two jumpers for a 27-18 advantage.

Rhodes, who said she’s more confident and under control compared to last season, started the first few games as a sophomore last year before coming off the bench. Rhodes finished with a game-high 12 points and recorded two of her three steals on consecutive possessions.

“Her role hasn’t really changed,” Fetzer said. “They went to a 2-3 zone and left that wing open. She’s a good shooter and our best free throw shooter. When she sets her feet and we get it to her in good position, she’ll knock it down. Our kids want to do well so badly and are coming together.”

The Lakers earned a road victory over Gibsonburg in the conference last week before protecting home court Tuesday.

“That’s not something we think about,” Fetzer said of an unblemished record in the TAAC. “It’s one game at a time. The kids stay in the moment and we’re getting better. I’m proud of the kids’ effort.

“We preach defense and rebounding. Defense was the difference (Tuesday). The kids are buying in to being a tough, aggressive defensive team. You can bring the defense every game.”

Danbury allowed eight or fewer points in every quarter and each team had 35 rebounds. Cardinal Stritch made four two-point field goals and one three in the game.

Erin Lavelle had seven rebounds and three blocks, Stephanie Kukay had six rebounds and Tori Wright added five for the Lakers. Danbury had lost four straight to the Cardinals.

“We have to play good defense, be scrappy and get loose balls because our offense won’t blow people away,” Fetzer said. “The little things make a huge difference for us and we focus on those. We’re a team that’s growing.”

 


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