Rogers’ Marquelle Williams-Price defends Notre Dame’s Kaayla McIntyre during their game Saturday night.
THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON
Notre Dame and Rogers, two of the state’s best girls basketball teams, met Saturday night.
The Eagles’ 6-foot junior Tierra Floyd poured in a game-high 17 points to spark the Notre Dame to a 56-50 victory.
Floyd hit a go-ahead 3-point shot with 2 minutes, 40 seconds left in the game to give the Eagles a 52-50 advantage, their first lead since midway through the third quarter.
Notre Dame held on from there to to give Rogers its first loss of the season.
“I was open, and I was glad my teammate was able to find me on that one,” said Floyd, who scored nine points in the final quarter.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view photos from the game.
Floyd showed why she’s a top recruit. On hand to see the action were the University of Toledo’s Tricia Cullop and Indiana’s Curt Miller, former Bowling Green State University coach.
The Eagles improved to 5-0 with the nonconference win. Mariah Copeland provided a major lift for Notre Dame, finishing with 15 points after knocking down five 3-pointers. Kaayla McIntyre also scored in double figures, finishing with 13 points, while Jayda Worthy added nine points and seven rebounds.
However, Worthy’s most crucial play of the night happened when she hustled back after missing a layup to poke away the ball from Rogers’ Akinreh Johnson, who appeared to be headed for a layup with less than a minute to play. The Eagles came up with the loose ball, and Floyd was fouled. She went to the line shortly thereafter and made a pair of foul shots to secure the win.
Rogers led by as many as 11 points after going into halftime owning a 36-25 advantage.
However, Notre Dame methodically chipped away at the double-digit deficit against a Rams team that was outscored 31-14 after halftime. The Eagles a 37-36 lead midway through the third quarter on a layup by Worthy, but ended up trailing 45-42 by the end of the quarter.
“I’m very proud of our team after being down at the half by 11 and everything going bad,” Notre Dame coach Travis Galloway said. “They did a great job of staying together.
“We had some players make some big-time plays for us. It was a great team effort and I couldn’t be more prouder of our group.”
Johnson paced the Rams with a team-high 13 points and seven rebounds. Marquelle Williams came off the bench and added 12. Keasja Peace and Jasmyne Smith provided eight apiece.
Sasha Dailey finished with a team-high 10 assists for the Rams, all coming in the first half, but struggled to make baskets, finishing with two points on a 1-for-12 shooting night.
Rogers coach Lamar Smith expects the Rams to bounce back from their first loss.
“We missed some shots we should have made,” Smith said. “It was a good game all around, and we’ll learn from this.”
The Rams coach credited the Eagles’ veteran players from coming through and making the game-deciding plays down the stretch.
“This game could’ve went either way,” Smith said. “When we were pushing the ball up, Jayda Worthy made a good play tapping the ball out of Akinreh’s hands, and that’s when the game changes. It happens in basketball. You have to give Jayda Worthy credit because she hustled back.
“It was one of those things where their shots went in and they won the game.”
Plenty of shots fell for the Rams before halftime after they jumped out to a 5-0 lead to start the game. They closed out the opening quarter with a 21-14 lead and plenty of momentum entering the second quarter.
Johnson scored 10 of her points in the first half, including two threes. Smith scored all eight of her points, including two 3-pointers, before halftime to help give the Rams a 36-25 cushion at the break.
However, a half still remained to be completed.