Sweeney lifts Rams out of 13-1 deficit as Rogers beats Notre Dame 52-44

12/24/2012
BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Rogers' Cha'Ron Sweeney splits the defense of Notre Dame's Christy Ohlinger, left, and Kaayla McIntyre. Sweeney scored 19 points.
Rogers' Cha'Ron Sweeney splits the defense of Notre Dame's Christy Ohlinger, left, and Kaayla McIntyre. Sweeney scored 19 points.

Notre Dame put Rogers to the test on Saturday night.

But the Rams put together a strong second-half effort to recover from an early double-digit deficit to leave Notre Dame with a 52-44 nonleague girls basketball victory.

"We've always been having leads in games, so it was a heart-check for us tonight," said Rogers coach Lamar Smith, whose team improved to 7-1 after falling behind the Eagles by as many as 12 points in the first half.

Rogers senior guard Cha'Ron Sweeney scored 17 of her game-high 19 points after halftime to lead the Rams on the comeback trail against the Eagles (6-3). Sasha Dailey pumped in 12 points, and Akienreh Johnson finished with 10.

Rogers fell behind 13-1 to start the game and trailed 25-18 at halftime.

However, the Rams found their offense after the break and outscored the Eagles 34-19 during the final 16 minutes.

With the scored tied at 28 in the third quarter, a 12-0 run jump-started by the Rams forcing the Eagles into committing four straight turnovers gave Rogers a 40-28 lead. Sweeney capped the run by sinking a 10-footer with just over a minute left in the period.

The Rams grabbed the momentum with their fullcourt pressure and took a 40-32 lead into the fourth quarter. They never trailed the rest of the way.

"We didn't want to show [the pressure defense] early, and I thought we did a really good job with it in the second half," the Rams coach said.

Notre Dame's Jayda Worthy matched Sweeney for game-high honors by scoring 19 points to lead the Eagles. Kaayla McIntyre added 12 points, and Tierra Floyd had nine.

Notre Dame coach Travis Galloway said the third-quarter run by Rogers was key, as well as the foul shooting.

The Eagles struggled from the foul line, making only 11 of 23 free throws, including a 6-for-15 effort in the first half.

The Rams went 11-for-14 from the foul line for the game. Sweeney was 7-for-8 on foul shots, all attempted in the fourth quarter.

Rogers' Tatyana Reynolds gets too close while guarding Notre Dame’s Jayda Worthy, who had 19 points.
Rogers' Tatyana Reynolds gets too close while guarding Notre Dame’s Jayda Worthy, who had 19 points.

"I thought we did lose points [from the free-throw line] in the first half, but during that one spurt by Rogers in the third quarter, we played faster than we wanted to," Galloway said.

Notre Dame opened the game by scoring the first seven points and led 13-1 halfway through the opening quarter.

The Eagles played in control and kept the game at a halfcourt tempo. They kept the Rams from running, and it led to a 15-8 Eagles lead at the end of the first quarter.

Notre Dame also found success limiting Rogers to one shot a possession early in the contest.

The Eagles maintained the lead throughout the second quarter and went into halftime with a 25-18 advantage.

However, the Rams didn't just go into halftime trailing by seven points, they also went into the break concerned about starting guard Jasmyne Smith, who went down with a leg injury during the final seconds of the second quarter.

Smith, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last season, injured her other knee while guarding Floyd, who drained a 3-pointer as Smith went down on the court with 11.8 seconds remaining in the second quarter. She didn't play in the second half. The Rams’ coach, who is Jasmyne's father, said she may have been suffering from cramps, but they still plan to have the knee examined this week.

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.