- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Ryken girls drop first game of the season to St. John’s
By JAMES A. McCRAY III
She would catch a pass in the painted area of the basketball court, shimmy left or shimmy right and throw a hookshot into the basket.
Throughout the first quarter of the St. Mary’s Ryken Knights girls basketball home contest on Friday night, senior Cydney Smith easily shot over St. John’s Cadets defenders, amounting to her eight first-quarter points and helping the Knights earn an 18-13 lead at the end of one period of play.
But two personal fouls in less than 30 seconds early in the second quarter, combined with defensive adjustments from the Cadets, held Smith to only four points the rest of the game and St. John’s defeated Ryken, 60-50, delivering the Knights its first loss of the season.
“I thought [St. John’s] did a great job of pushing her out a little bit,” Ryken head coach Kris Sandberg said of Smith, “but honestly I think it was more that we weren’t looking for her. I think the whole gym heard me yell at the team, ‘Get her the ball.’ Even after that, we were looking; we just weren’t getting it to her.”
Even with a scoreless second quarter from Smith, Ryken (6-1) went into the half trailing by only one point, 30-29, surviving an 8-0 run from the Cadets.
Deja Ford helped keep Ryken in the game, scoring all 11 of her points in the second half, as St. John’s (4-0) could not open up a double-digit lead until just over three minutes remaining in the game, that a 56-46 lead.
“I know we can run with them [St. John’s],” Sandberg said, “I know we can do it. More importantly, we the coaches knew that. I think the kids see that they can do it, they just need to eliminate some of the other little distraction stuff that’s going on.”
As Ford tried to keep Ryken in the game, St. John’s senior Lindsay Allen kept Ryken out of it, scoring a game-high 15 points, including 11 in the final half of play.
Allen’s speed and athleticism led to timely baskets throughout the second half, including giving St. John’s a seven-point lead, twice at 49-42 and 51-44, after Ryken cut the lead down to only five points early in the fourth quarter.
“We’re very fortunate to have her on the basketball team,” Cadets head coach Jonathan Scribner said of Allen. “Great players can make coaches look awfully good and that’s what she is doing. … Anytime you need a bailout situation, she will handle it. She does it over and over and over again.”
Allen added on the win, “It was very important. It’s always good to come down to Ryken, because after a long car ride your legs are stiff, so to come here and get a win, I am glad we got it.”
Scribner, Allen and the Cadets also mentioned that slowing down Smith was a large key to the victory and to staying unblemished on the season.
“At first, we didn’t know what she could do, so we just played her the normal way we play a post player,” Allen said. “Then, we saw what she could do, so we started denying her more and doubling down on her and she was less productive.”
Scribner said they key to slowing down Smith was making her fight before even touching the ball on the offensive end.
“We made her have to really work for anything that she was going to get and we were successful,” Scribner said. “She is a great player and I’m not sure we’ll be able to do this again, but we were able to slow her down.”
The Knights will look to take on out-of-area competition starting Wednesday and running through Sunday as they will play the 2012 Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Ariz.