by John R. McNeil II
The Lady Raiders rebounded from the loss to White Swan by knocking off the Manson Trojans and Kittitas Coyotes last week to improve their win-loss record to 7-4.
Head Coach Wallace Pleasants attributes some of the better play in both games to watching the film after White Swan. “The girls made a commitment that they are not going to look that bad again,” he said.
At Manson Jan. 8, the Lady Raiders started off slow due in part to Manson’s quick girls upsetting the Lady Raiders’ rhythm. LR reestablished that rhythm on defense and came away with a convincing victory, 61-29.
Pleasants liked how the team “was running our plays and looking for a quality shot.”
That positive momentum carried into Friday’s home league opener against the Kittitas Coyotes.
With Keya Fasthorse out with an ankle sprain, Johnny McCraigie filled in at guard. Coach Pleasants was pleased with the way McCraigie stepped up. “McCraigie did a good job on point and played solid defense that allowed us to shift and do other things with the other girls,” he said.
Kittitas played hard and kept it close early on.
Then Hailey Chaney started an LR 6-0 run with a steal to give the Ladies the lead at the end of the first quarter 18-10.
LR continued to lay on the offense in the second quarter going on a 8-0 run at the start. Kittitas was unable to mount any effective comeback as the Lady Raiders played a much more consistent game on both offense and defense in the second quarter; the score at halftime was LR 34-Kittitas 15.
Coming out of half the Coyotes shifted gears and started coming back into the game. LR held off the Coyotes and built a bigger lead by the end of the third, 43-24.
In the fourth quarter with a 20-point lead, Pleasants kept the girls motivated to not sluff off on the intensity. For Kittitas, the frustration started to show as the game became rough and foul trouble became a problem for the Coyotes. In the end, the Lady Raiders posted their second straight win in league play, 59-36.
Pleasants did have to adjust to get that win.
“Kittitas has three big girls who can control the paint, so we went small and spread out the defense by passing the ball, making it difficult for those three to guard us,” he said.
Chaney “really got us started on offense” with multiple steals, Pleasants noted.
Danielle Laramie again lead the Lady Raiders with 17 points.
LR was scheduled to host Liberty Bell Tuesday night. Friday LR travels up to Oroville where the Hornets are sitting at 6-5 and look to be the most challenging team for the Lady Raiders after White Swan.
Stickney 7, Hayes 5, Reno 5, Shipley 12, Larsen 3, Kies 4.
R. Epperson 5, Sam 0, Chaney 7, Palmer 0, Wilson 0, McCraigie 14, Laramie 17, Stanczak 4, A. Epperson 6, Schilling 6.