For the second straight game, Rogers faced a familiar local foe. And for the second straight game, the Rams lost.
Only days after losing a City League game for the first time in five seasons, Rogers met Notre Dame in a non-league affair on Tuesday night.
The Eagles clearly weren’t inviting as Notre Dame smashed Rogers 81-40 in the Eagles gym.
Notre Dame guards Bre Hampton-Bey and Mariah Copeland combined for 33 points in delivering the Rams one of their worst defeats by a local rival in the past six seasons.
Notre Dame (10-3), arguably the area’s top team, gained control of the contest before halftime and was never threatened by the Rams (6-4) after taking a 43-20 lead into halftime.
“I thought we started the game with great offensive rhythm,” Notre Dame coach Travis Galloway said. “We found Mariah [Copeland] on a couple of shooting possessions and she knocked down some shots and we got off to a good start.
“I thought in the first quarter we were a little too amped up and missed some defensive assignments, but as the game went on, our defense was very good. I thought we forced them to take tough shots and I thought we rebounded misses and got deflections and did some good things.”
Hampton-Bey, who played her first two years in high school at Rogers, admits defeating the Rams made the win extra special. She finished with 19 points.
“This means a lot because I’m playing with a team that I love so much,” Hampton-Bey said. “I think being with this team has made me grow so much and I just want to play as hard as I possibly can for this team.”
Rogers guard Zia Cooke finished with a team-high 16 points, and Tasya Gant added eight in a game the Rams trailed by double digits for much of the contest.
As much as Copeland (14 points), Hampton-Bey, and Ariel Cummings (14 points) led the Eagles in making shots, the Notre Dame coach thought it was their effort on defense that led to them increasing their lead over the Rams.
IN PICTURES: Notre Dame pulls away from Rogers
“To be honest, I thought our depth just kind of wore them out,” Galloway said. “They looked tired at times. We have a unique team that we can bring players off the bench and not lose anything.
“I thought our kids off the bench and everybody that played today had a definite mission today to make each other better and it showed.”
The Eagles grabbed hold of the game by closing out the first quarter on an 10-0 run after Rogers’ Geionna Hollingsworth (six points) tied the score at 13 with a steal and layup with just over three minutes left in the opening period.
Hollingsworth’s clean strip of the basketball from Bre Hampton-Bey seemed to awaken Notre Dame.
In particular, it triggered something in Hampton-Bey to pick up her game. She scored six of the 10 points during the spurt to help the Eagles take a 23-13 lead into the second quarter.
The Eagles continued to pull away from the Rams during the second quarter.
Copeland, who opened the game with a back-to-back 3- pointers, finished the first half with 14 points. Cummings, a 6-foot-3 post, who played at Ottawa Hills last year, had 10 at the break.
Besides having trouble keeping the Eagles from scoring near the basket, the Rams’ struggles for the second straight game was turnovers. They were guilty of 15 in the first half.
Hollingsworth, the Rams’ starting point guard, committed five turnovers in the first half.
Notre Dame continued to pour it on the Rams in the second half. The Eagles outscored the Rams 19-10 during the third quarter to take a 62-30 lead into the fourth quarter.
Leading by 32 points to start the fourth quarter, Galloway sat his starters for most of the fourth quarter.
Hampton-Bey said she wasn’t completely surprised by the final score.
“Every game we want to put up 70 points or more as a team,” she said.
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