Rams beat Bears, 53-49

150

Freshman Julia Dickerson led three Maricopa players in double digit scoring with a game high 19 points as the Rams girls’ basketball team triumphed over Coolidge High School for their fifth consecutive win, the second against the Bears this year.

Junior Brittany Parks added 15 points, and freshman Paige Provost contributed 11 points as the Rams battled the Bears in a close contest.

The Rams got off to a slow start in the game, being outscored 6-9 in the opening minutes of the first quarter. But they were able to settle down and make several key stops defensively.

The Rams trailed for most of the second quarter until Provost shot one of her three 3-pointers to bring the Rams within one point of the Bears. This remained the difference until senior Erin Litchfield stole the ball and scored on the subsequent possession with only 0:27 left in the half. A late free throw by the Bears gave them a 24-25 advantage going into halftime.

Pressing the Bears early in the third quarter, the Rams were able to go on a 6-0 run, keyed primarily by four consecutive Bear turnovers. Parks scored six early points on these turnovers, taking advantage of poor passing and some mental mistakes by the Bears.

In a game that was marked by physical play throughout, things became very heated as time wound down in the third quarter. With just over one minute remaining, Dickerson was fouled hard on a technical. After a few moments on the floor Dickerson was able to return to the bench on her own. The foul, however, created a new spark in the Rams’ players. The quarter ended with the Rams leading 38-32.

The fourth quarter saw much the same tempo, as both teams exchanged shots for much of the quarter. Litchfield, coming off the bench for the injured Dickerson, and senior Dee Streety, keyed several Bear turnovers as they put pressure on the Bears’ shooters. But they could do little to stop the low post play of the Bears. It was Dickerson, returning with just over five minutes remaining in the game, who was able to help push the Rams to the end of the game, scoring two key 3-point shots to help ice the game for the Rams.

“We really had five goals that we wanted to accomplish tonight,” said Maricopa Head Coach Jen Miller. “We didn’t really accomplish any of those, but the girls got it done in the end. They stayed focused and mentally tough. A win is a win, and we’ll take it any way we can.”

But Miller also had high praise for her team. “Julia (Dickerson) had a great game tonight,” Miller said. “What’s super exciting about it, though, is that she’s a freshman. She’s taking on that leadership role. It’s been great to see.”

The win takes the Rams to a record of 13-2 overall, 7-0 in regional play. The Rams begin a string of five away games starting Friday. Their next home game is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb.10.

Photo by David Vargas