Canton, Plymouth girls hoops teams face off in a battle of two halves
Canton’s girls basketball team got after it — “it” being the basketball — Tuesday night at Plymouth, whether the orange sphere was caroming off the backboards or rolling loosely on the court.
Following a dismal opening 16 minutes in which they were outscored 19-10, the Chiefs came out of the halftime locker room on a mission, cleaning the glass for rebounds and sweeping the floor for loose balls on the way to a 36-30 victory.
Canton improved to 2-3 in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association West Division and 6-6 overall. Plymouth, which couldn’t convert hustle into points in the second half, slipped to 0-5 in the division and 4-7 overall.
The Chiefs secured 15 offensive rebounds (and 35 altogether) to missed shots into second-chance points.
Second shots are like gold
“Getting all those offensive rebounds was big because we needed the extra possessions,” said Canton Head coach Kayla Bridges. “And we were holding them to one shot, especially in the second half, so that was huge, too.
“Early on our shots weren’t really falling; we missed a couple of bunnies. But once we were able to make some put-backs, I think it helped the girls relax and settle down a little bit.”
Bridges said her halftime message was pretty straightforward.
“I basically told them they weren’t playing up to their standards, which they knew,” she said. “I reminded them they needed to better on effort plays — hitting the floor for loose balls, things like that — things they could control.”
Junior Justice Tramble was a force in the paint for the winners, finishing with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Junior Maya Joiner was also a difference-maker, grabbing nine boards to go with six points.
Marisa Cribari (five points, seven rebounds) and Rachel Williams (four points, four boards) also played well for Canton.
Tale of two halves
The Wildcats resembled a well-oiled machine in the first half when they extended a 7-6 first-quarter advantage to their 19-10 lead at intermission.
Ashley Rosiewicz was stellar for the hosts, scoring 11 points, nine in the first half.
Olivia Maciag was solid, too, for Plymouth, adding seven points (two triples) and seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Averi Collins played like the Energizer Bunny, playing relentless defense (four steals) while contributing six points.
Plymouth, which played without senior bigs Meghan McCarthy and Chloe McClain, was led in the paint by junior Elena DiMaria, who scored four points and yanked down nine rebounds.
“It’s always tough to lose to your rivals,” said Plymouth Head Coach Ryan Ballard. “We executed well in the first half and rebounded on the defensive end. Unfortunately, we couldn’t muster enough plays in the second half to win.”
The game was knotted at 30-30 with 4:40 left after Collins swiped a Chief pass and converted a layup at the other end.
Canton seized the lead for good with 2:40 to play when Joiner banked in a putback. Tramble added the final four points for Canton, which blanked the Wildcats after Collins’ game-deadlocking play.