PLANO – What started as a low-scoring affair in the first half quickly changed to an offensive game in the second half between Rosary and Plano.
The visiting Royals came away with a 41-36 non-conference win on Monday.
“The offenses in the first half were stagnant. The message at halftime was pretty simple, just score,” Plano coach David Lay said.
The first and second quarters were mirror images of each other. Both teams struggled to score and the defenses forced several turnovers.
“We got some good looks. They just weren’t going in,” Rosary coach John Rutter said. “We had to keep battling.”
The offensive struggles subsided as both teams made some adjustments at the half.
“We were making some shots and got inside looks. I thought we made some really nice passes that turned into easy layups,” Rutter said.
Capitalizing on those inside looks were Rosary forwards Megan Cibulskis and Emily Hurst. In the last three minutes of the game, the two combined for 10 points on six shots, all coming from inside the paint.
“This year and this team does a good job of knowing where everyone is on the floor," Rosary senior Zoe Ketterman said. "That helps us calm down and just run the offense better."
Before Cibulskis and Hurst closed out the game, the Royals were the beneficiaries of Ketterman’s long-range jump shot. After hitting a 3-pointer in the third quarter, Ketterman started the fourth with a 15-foot jumper from the right elbow. On the very next possession, she drained another 3-pointer from the top of the key to give Rosary the momentum.
“I saw that they were backing off of me because I wasn’t shooting much in the first half, so I just kept shooting,” Ketterman said. “I knew they were eventually going to fall in.”
The second half scoring wasn’t limited to the Royals. Plano (4-14) had an offensive burst of its own from its senior leader, Lily Fernandez.
Fernandez established her offense with a hard drive and layup with 2:55 left in the third quarter. A few moments later, she followed it up with a 3-pointer to give Plano a 22-21 lead at the end of the third quarter.
“Lily is outstanding,” Plano coach David Lay said. “I thought she carried us tonight when we really needed it.”
With a slight lead in the fourth, Fernandez continued to generate offense as she scored on back-to-back possessions. The first time down she poured in a 12-foot jumper, and the next was a baseline floater.
“She’s a great player and she can fill it up in a hurry,” Rutter said. “We had to switch to zone to try and mix things up.”
The adjustment paid off as the Royals took control and eventually closed things out with their offense.
“I thought we played really hard and really and I think it’s fair to say we had them flustered in the first half, but our offense needs to click a little better,” Lay said.
Fernandez finished with a game-high 16 points for Plano, but it was topped by the combined 22 points from Ketterman (10) and Cibulskis (12) of Rosary.
“At some point we all got together and decided to pick it up and just have fun the rest of the game,” Ketterman said.