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LaBrae opens season with win over Rams

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Laura McCoy (11) of LaBrae drives down the lane against a Mineral Ridge defender Friday night. The Vikings won, 52-29.

MINERAL RIDGE — The LaBrae girls basketball team kicked off the 2020-21 season right, overcoming a slow start to take down Mineral Ridge, 52-29, in a season-opening win.

The teams were playing even for most of the first half, but as the Rams began to tire out, LaBrae took over, going on a run to close out the first half with a 26-18 lead.

“After the first couple minutes I think we worked,” LaBrae coach Mandy Rowe said. “We had some early turnovers and we worked through it, and then got going a little bit.

“We got a couple steals which turned into layups, and then we hit a couple shots to widen that gap a little bit.”

From that point on, the Vikings dominated, outscoring Mineral Ridge 26-11 in the second half. They held the Rams to two points in the third quarter.

Staff photo / Brian Yauger LaBrae’s Jenna Reppart drives the lane against the defense of Danielle Aulet of Mineral Ridge.

“I was really happy with our defensive effort tonight,” Rowe said. “Holding them to 29 points I was proud of that. I thought we did a nice job of rebounding too.”

Briley Daniels led the Vikings with 14 points. Laura McCoy had 13 points and Lenox McConaughey had 12.

The Rams are dealing with low numbers, with an active roster of nine. The team played well in the early parts of the game, but the shortened bench proved to be fatal for Mineral Ridge as the game went on.

The short bench and limited time together have caused issues for Mineral Ridge. Due to the success of the volleyball team, the Rams’ basketball team has only been able to practice five times leading up to this matchup.

“I thought we outplayed them (early in the first half),” Cluse said. “We were the better team and we just hit a wall where we just got tired. Some of the girls were playing in the JV game and I played three of my seniors in the JV game because I’ve got an injury and a girl fouling out in the JV game.”

It wasn’t all bad for the Rams however. Senior Morgan Sigley had an impressive game with 11 points and had a solid two-way game, despite having limited time to prepare for the year.

“I thought Morgan (Sigley) played her butt off tonight,” Cluse said. “She doesn’t have a lot of reps right now coming out of volleyball, but she did everything we needed her to do tonight. She was in the right spots, right screens and did some things on defense.”

Rosie Nolder led the Rams with 12 points.

LaBrae has its first league match on Monday when they take on Garfield at home. Mineral Ridge hosts Niles on Tuesday.

As the season goes on, the Rams are looking for a player to take control and give the team a confidence boost.

“You look for that next person in line to step up and bring some confidence and some flair to pick up the other three or four that are out there and we really don’t have that right now,” Cluse said. “If our five starters on the floor can’t get it done, we really don’t have anybody yet that is at that highest varsity level that can be the pickup girl.”

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