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12/21/2013 1:03:00 AM Prep girls basketball: Ottawa opens tournament with win
Brandon LaChance Staff Writer
OTTAWA — The Ottawa Girls Holiday Tournament is officially underway as the action began Friday in Ottawa.
The Lady Pirates started their tournament in the preferred fashion as they blew out Sandwich 64-39.
“We came out really strong in the first half and our defense was really good,” senior guard Jasmin Bailey said. “It helped a lot that we were hitting all our shoots. We were really pumped up and wanted to play good defense.”
With the score 6-4 in the early minutes of the first quarter, Bailey knocked down a 3-pointer to start a Lady Pirate run.
The run was in more of the cross country variety as Ottawa scored 26 consecutive points in nearly five minutes.
Ottawa had a 32-8 lead after the opening eight minutes.
“We just knew that they would be ready for us and knew we never really play good in the first half,” senior forward Cassidy Rice said. “We just came out and were ready to show people that we can, especially since it’s our home gym.”
Bailey hit two more 3-point baskets en route to a game-high 18 points. Rice recorded a game-high eight rebounds and also scored 12 points for the Lady Pirates.
With a 24-point lead, Ottawa coach Mark Cooper subbed in a new group of five to share the wealth of playing time.
The new unit held its own in the first four minutes as it went on a 6-2 run before Sandwich turned up its level of play and went on a 12-0 run of its own to cut the lead to 38-22.
The Lady Pirates (8-2) never let the Lady Indians within more than 16 points as they halted the run and tightened the defense.
“We’ve been playing pretty good defense lately,” Rice said. “We started off the season pretty shaky but we’ve definitely improved. We didn’t want to allow them to shoot because we knew it would keep them in the game.”
Everyone on the Ottawa roster got a chance to showcase their skills against the Lady Indians.
Junior guard Bailey Bradish and junior post Ryan Phelps were the only Lady Pirates to knock down 3-point baskets besides Bailey and Rice.
“In the second quarter we subbed everybody in and during the rest of the game we gave everybody a chance to play,” Cooper said. “We still have three games to play, so we wanted to save some energy for the rest of the way.
“We had some kids come off the bench and give us good minutes today. You have to be able to do that in games like this.”
Bradish finished with five points and had an assist. Phelps contributed with three rebounds and an assist to complement her three points.
Junior post Jill Wignes also helped Ottawa as she scored six points, hauled in three rebounds, dished two assists and had a steal.
Ottawa’s next game in the tournament is against Rockford East at 3 p.m. today. The Lady Pirates hope they can jump out to another fast start and pull out a win against a foreign team.
“I think we need to move the ball better,” Rice said. “Rockford East, we don’t really know much about them, so we’re going to have to come out a lot stronger and be ready to expect anything.”
Brandon LaChance can be reached at 220-6995, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance.
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