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Cleve Hill girls hoops outlasts Eden

Big-time basketball runs are usually a result of good defense that transitions into offense. Pesky defense led to a 10-0 run to open the fourth quarter, which helped the Cleveland Hill girls basketball team defeat Eden 39 – 37 on Feb. 10.

The Raiders led 31 – 26, heading into the final quarter, but in a blink of an eye, Cleveland Hill turned defense into offense and came up with an early run to gain a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Mahogany Barker connected on a fast-break layup and then a runner in the paint to open the fourth quarter scoring. Emily Maziarz then hit one of two free throws which was followed by a 3-pointer from the right wing by freshman Jayla James, who finished with 11 points. Sydney Turley completed the run with an offensive rebound and put-back, part of her game-high 12 points.

“I told them to play like this was the last game of their season,” said Cleveland Hill head coach Carrie Owens. “They really came out and stepped up to the plate.”

Eden had eight different players get on the scoresheet, led by Kailee Ballou, who recorded eight straight points in the third quarter to put the Raider up seven, 29-22. In the fourth quarter, ball security and rebounding plagued the home team, and ultimately led to its demise.

“We didn’t protect the ball,” said Eden head coach Marisa Fallacaro. “We had two goals coming in — to protect the ball and not turn it over, and also to rebound, and we didn’t do either of them. You’re not going to win many games like that. They’re a very good, young, athletic team. They outworked us today.”

Both teams were able to attack the offensive glass throughout the game. Eden cashed in 12 second-chance points, while the Golden Eagles scored 10, but no rebound was more important than the one corralled by Cleveland Hill with 22 seconds left after Turley missed the second of two free throws. The rebound denied Eden a chance for a two-point look to tie.

The Golden Eagles outscored the Raiders 14 – 6 in the final quarter after Eden had led by as many as eight earlier in the game. The defensive full-court pressure caused headaches for the Raiders and helped Cleveland Hill get back in the game.

“It was our defensive pressure,” said Owens. “We didn’t let off. We continued to press. We stayed with our gameplan.We ran man [defense], we pressed, we continued to stay with what worked for us.”

The 14th win for the Golden Eagles put them into a third-place tie with Eden at 7 – 4 in the division, with one game remaining, against JFK, on Feb. 12. The Raiders dropped to 7 – 9 overall, with two games remaining. Eden will play sectionals in Class B-1; Cleve Hill, in Class B-2.

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