NEW HOPE — The shots just weren’t falling for the New Hope High School girls basketball team Tuesday night against Caledonia.
The Trojans were getting looks, many from close range, but that wasn’t translating into points. Yet there was no panic, even when the first quarter ended with the Cavaliers up 6-4.
“Our first quarter has been kind of our Achilles’ heel, so the message we preached this week was patience,” New Hope coach Nick Christy said. “The shots weren’t falling, and we were still patient with it. We didn’t start forcing things.”
Patience, and the play of Tamera Ross coming off the bench, eventually paid off, and the Trojans’ defense did the rest in a 41-16 victory over Caledonia.
The Trojans held the Cavs scoreless for the first 7 minutes, 42 seconds of the second quarter to seize a 14-8 halftime lead. But what killed Caledonia was that New Hope did the same thing during the third quarter, keeping the Cavs off the scoreboard for the first 7:19.
Only this time, the Trojans’ offense was starting to make things happen. Ross scored 8 of her game-high 14 points during the third quarter as New Hope opened the second half on a 14-0 run.
“We knew the way their zone rotated, and we could get some looks if we would be patient with it,” Christy said. “As the game went on, we were able to be patient, and it paid off.”
Ross scored 6 consecutive points during the third quarter, sneaking in for an offensive rebound on a missed 3-pointer and scoring on a putback, driving for a basket after making a steal, then hitting two free throws after being fouled on another drive.
“She’s a freshman,” Christy said of Ross. “She’s athletic, she plays really hard, and today I was talking to her and said I need you to be free, just play. Get out there and do what I ask you to do and don’t worry about anything else. And that’s what she looked like … she made plays when she had opportunities.”
Jada Jefferson and Ross scored the last two buckets of the quarter for New Hope, both coming on third chances. Rebounding on both ends is what turned a win into a rout.
“We wanted to give them one shot,” Christy said. “We had some good rebounds from Jada, and Taylor (Brownlee) had a good inside game, really cleaning up the boards.”
Jefferson, Lailah Henderson and JeKerria Ivy each scored 6 points for New Hope, which scored its last 6 points on layups following steals, two from Ivy and one from Ross.
It was a very different game than the first meeting between the teams, which ended in a 51-43 New Hope win on Nov. 22.
“We made a conscious decision to slow it down,” said Christy, whose team held the Cavaliers to single digits in each of the four quarters.
Guard Cadie Wright scored all 6 of Caledonia’s first-quarter points to lead the Cavaliers.
New Hope (4-4), which has one senior on the roster, has yet to play a district game and won’t face a Class 5A, Region 1 foe until Jan. 7 when Columbus visits. Caledonia (4-10, 0-3 4A-1) will resume district play Jan. 4 at Mooreville.
Tuscaloosa Academy 57, Pickens Academy 25: Kate Wilkins scored 12 points, but the Pirates fell to 7-4.
Morgan Smith led three players in double figures for Tuscaloosa Academy.
Pickens will be back in action Dec. 28 at the Clarke Prep Christmas tournament in Grove Hill, Alabama.
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