Start controlled every aspect of a City League girls basketball clash with Notre Dame last night, and the Spartans' stingy defense in particular led to a rout.
The visiting Spartans never trailed and outscored the Eagles 18-4 in the pivotal third quarter. Start (16-1, 9-1 CL) held advantages in rebounding, turnovers, and field-goal percentage in dealing Notre Dame a 58-32 thumping.
The Eagles (13-4, 7-3) converted on just 12 of 47 shots (24.5 percent) and turned the ball over 25 times.
"I thought we played good defense in the second half," Start coach Robert Brown said. "I thought we came out and played tougher on the boards in the second half."
The Spartans received solid efforts from one of their tallest players, Yolanda Richardson (6-foot-1), and one of their smallest players, T.T. Arnold (5-2).
Richardson, a junior, scored a game-high 18 points and had 12 rebounds. Arnold, a senior, finished with 14 points, including three 3-pointers.
"Yolanda just changes the game," Brown said. "She is dominant. That makes our guards able to get up in passing lanes and pressure more."
Start also held a 34-25 advantage on the boards, and it forced seven turnovers in the third quarter.
"Start played very well defensively," Notre Dame coach Rhett Boyd said. "They gave us fits."
Yet the Eagles can still clinch a spot in the CL final four playoffs with a victory over winless Woodward tomorrow due in part to Bowsher's 65-60 win over Clay last night.
Start, whose only setback came to Waite (9-1), plays another one-loss team in the City, Central Catholic (9-1), tomorrow.
Notre Dame was led by Jasmine Blanton, who scored seven of her nine points in the first half.
The tipping point last night came when ND was within six points, 23-17, with 1:12 left in the second quarter. Start ended the half with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Francesca Adams and opened the second half with another 3 from Maleeka Kynard.
"We pulled within six. We were able to chip away," Boyd said. "We left a girl open in the corner, and she knocked it in. Then they hit a 3 to start the second half, and all of the sudden the lead goes from six to 12."
Kynard, a freshman, hit a 3-pointer a minute into the third quarter to give the Spartans a 29-17 advantage. After forcing 12 miscues in the first half, ND forced 13 in the second half.
Start held the Eagles scoreless for more than six minutes of play beginning midway through the third. The Spartans went on a 22-4 run to make it 48-21 with
6:22 left in the game.
"We wanted to get the tempo going a little bit," Brown said.
Notre Dame pulled within 8-7 with 4:12 left in the first quarter. But the Spartans ended the quarter with a 6-0 run.
Arnold had 11 of her team's 26 points in the first half, and Richardson had seven points and six rebounds.
Boyd said Start's two post players, Richardson and Azia Bishop (6-2), are big and disciplined inside.
"That allows their guards to play very aggressive in the perimeter, and they are difficult to score on," he said. "They knocked down six 3s when we took away their inside."
Brown said the key was taking away the good looks ND was getting in the first half.
"They are 13-4, and they're a good team," Brown said. "We are starting to make some shots, and if we make shots we have a chance to beat some good teams. Hopefully we can play well against Central on Wednesday. This was good for us to come out with a win."
Contact Mark Monroe at: email@example.com or 419-724-6354.
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