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For the first eight minutes of Tuesday’s 1-A Coastal Independents Conference game inside Barney Williamson Gym on the campus of Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf, the Community Christian School varsity girls basketball team kept Raleigh St. Thomas More Academy at bay with a 3-2 zone designed to take away the Chancellors’ outside shooting.
It worked early, as the Lady Cyclones scored the game’s first six points and possessed a 15-7 lead after one quarter. But in the second quarter, St. Thomas More began attacking more with drives and cuts to the basket, opening up 3-point opportunities.
The Chancellors knocked down four 3-pointers in the second quarter, and began whittling away at CCS’s limited depth en route to a 60-42 Lady Cyclones loss.
CCS, which was outpaced 19-6 in the second quarter, dropped to 4-5 overall and 0-4 in CIC play. St. Thomas More moved to 5-4 in all games and 4-0 in conference outings.
“The thing about it is, our depth is an issue because we don’t have a lot of scorers,” first-year CCS head coach Mark Kent said. “The biggest thing was to jump out on them because I knew they could score. They had scorers and ball handlers, and we are slow on the back end. So when they got into their rhythm, we didn’t respond well to it.”
As CCS struggled to put the ball in the basket in the second quarter, the Chancellors’ streaky 3-point shooting put them ahead for good. St. Thomas More’s Janelle De Guzman had consecutive treys to start an 8-2 run for the visitors in the second quarter, and after a layup from CCS senior Morgan Lane, two 3-point baskets in succession by Aubrey Leaser put the Chancellors up 21-17.
CCS, outrebounded by a 45-35 margin, would never grab the lead again in trailing 26-21 at the half. Gabby Zerma, who bucketed 13 of her 14 points in the second half, banked in a 3-point to put St. Thomas More up by double digits at 31-21. The Chancellors connected on seven 3-pointers and turned CCS over with increased regularity in the second half.
“I think it took us a little while into our rhythm, maybe after being on the bus for an hour,” Chancellors head coach Jake Noland said. “The girls get a little more confident when those (3-point shots) start going in, and we start to play a little bit better.
Lane led CCS with 11 points and eight rebounds, while senior Olivia Bullard chipped in eight.
“I think we just got kind of frustrated,” Bullard said of the second half. “We just got really tired and ill with trying to get everything figured out.”
The 28-point final margin was the largest of the night.
Zerna’s 14 points led four Chancellors in double figures. DeGuzman chipped in 13, while Sarah McCullers and Rebecca Eastman had 12.
CCS is home to Henderson Crossroads Christian on Thursday.
ST. THOMAS MORE (60)
McCullers 12, Maloney 3, Puetzer 4, Gasper, Eastmann 12, Leaser 2, Tran, Zerna 14, De Guzman 13, Earnest.
Jackson 4, Gardener, Bissette, Bullard 8, Lane 11, Winstead, Pate 2, Langley 4, Garner 3.
Score by quarters:
St. Thomas More7191519—60