Raiders top Hur­ri­canes

Leonard­town girls bas­ket­ball pulls away late for win

The Enterprise - - Sports - By COLIN STOECKER [email protected]­news.com

The at­mos­phere in the Hunt­ing­town gym for Fri­day night’s South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Ch­e­sa­peake Divi­sion girls bas­ket­ball game against Leonard­town was in­tense as both teams played hard down to the very last minute, but the neck-and-neck con­test went in fa­vor of the Raiders, 57-47.

“It was tough. We had to really fight for that game,” said Leonard­town ju­nior for­ward Ta­mara Bush, who scored all 15 of her points in the first half. “Both our starters and our subs really put in work. Our subs really had a lot of en­ergy as well as the starters. I got a lot of points on put­backs and a post move, but really I just fought. We knew we were go­ing to have a fight and we knew we were go­ing to take the ‘W.’ We want more wins and to be state champs. I want to con­tinue to play hard as a team and win.”

Leaonard­town’s firstyear head coach Tylita Bul­ter was proud of the way that her team con­tin­ued to bat­tle against Hunt­ing­town in a game that looked as if it could have gone ei­ther way.

“We al­ways let teams cap­i­tal­ize on our mis­takes, but tonight we fought,” But­ler said. “We set­tled down when we needed to, we took care of the bas­ket­ball when we needed to and it was at the end when they showed their heart. That’s what I like about this team.”

But­ler added: “Hon­estly, we have two of our usual starters out, one took a hit in our last game, and we have an­other kid sick. So it’s truly a team win. We had two play­ers step up, Ar­lia Saxon and Ka­ly­cia Banks. KB hit some big shots at the be­gin­ning of the game. She had some nice threes and I would trust her with my life shoot­ing the ball. It’s when we make our own mis­takes when we mess up, and tonight they showed they are ca­pa­ble of mess­ing up and then play­ing bas­ket­ball in a game of pos­ses­sions.”

The game started out close with Leonard­town

(6-3, 1-0 SMAC Ch­es­peake) tak­ing the lead in the first quar­ter 11-5. Bush was a force un­der the bas­ket in the first quar­ter scor­ing seven points, along with bas­kets from se­nior point guard Emma Vez­zosi and sopho­more for­ward Saxon. Vez­zosi fin­ished with a team-high 18 points in the con­test.

Hunt­ing­town (5-2, 0-1) came out with a vengeance in the se­cond quar­ter. With 13 points from se­nior for­ward Maleah Smith, the Hur­ri­canes came back to tie the game at 19 with 2:54 left to go be­fore the half. How­ever, the Raiders re­took the lead by half­time 30-24.

“Hon­estly I think the game went well,” said Smith, who scored 17 points in the game. “We had a lot of heart and a lot of hus­tle and that’s some­thing that I

think we ex­cel in as a team. We con­tin­ued to play our game no mat­ter what the score­board said. We played Hunt­ing­town bas­ket­ball and I’m really proud of my team for that. When the score was close we all dug deep. We were work­ing to­gether and talk­ing and en­cour­ag­ing even though some of the bas­kets didn’t go our way. This is a big step for our sea­son, we can now see what our team is ca­pa­ble of and take that into the rest of the sea­son.”

The teams played long ball in the third quar­ter. Vez­zosi and Banks both sank three point­ers, while Hunt­ing­town had back-to-back threes from sopho­more point guard Crista Link as well as one from fresh­man guard Kirsten Doty. The third quar­ter ended with Leonard­town lead­ing 50-43 and the vis­i­tors man­aged to fin­ish with a 10-point win.

“We didn’t come out on top, and you al­ways want to walk in and win,” said Hunt­ing­town head coach Jen­nifer Bod­den, whose team is sched­uled to host North­ern at 6:30 tonight. “The girls played well, I’m proud of them. There are a few crit­i­cal ar­eas where we need to make some cor­rec­tions, but at least we know where we need to make them. Leonard­town is a very ag­gres­sive team who goes after ev­ery ball. Leonard­town has a strong and well-coached pro­gram. They jump ev­ery pass on de­fense, they get a lot of points on turnovers and we didn’t pro­tect the ball like we should have. We’re only go­ing to keep mov­ing up.”

Leonard­town is sched­uled to host Calvert at 6:30 tonight.

“I like this win right here. It’s con­fer­ence play, and they played hard. It shows ex­actly what I said ear­lier in the year, which is state champs,” But­ler said.

STAFF PHOTO BY COLIN STOECKER

Leonard­town ju­nior for­ward Ta­mara Bush goes for the bas­ket in Fri­day night’s South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence girls bas­ket­ball game against Hunt­ing­town. Bush scored 15 points as the Raiders won 57-47.

STAFF PHOTO BY COLIN STOECKER

Leonard­town se­nior point guard Emma Vez­zosi looks to pass the ball in Fri­day night’s South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence girls bas­ket­ball game against Hunt­ing­town. Vez­zosi led the Raiders with 18 points in a 57-47 win.

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