Warriors put it all together after break
STERLING – It was a tale of two halfves Tuesday at Musgrove Fieldhouse, as Sterling's girls basketball team rallied to beat Sycamore 46-42.
A 12-2 run to start the second half keyed the Warriors to their sixth straight win to start the 2013-14 season.
The Spartans (0-1) came out firing, led by junior Bailey Gilbert, who was perfect behind the arc in the first quarter. Gilbert scored 14 points to spur the Spartans to a 18-11 lead.
Sterling (6-0) started to gain a foothold after the rough first stanza.
The Warriors' defense held the Spartans and Gilbert to half as many points in the second quarter, as she scored seven of Sycamore's nine points. Gilbert was slowed in part by the defense of Sterling junior Gabby Sandoval.
"It was very difficult," Sandoval said. "But I had my teammates to help me out, and it was a team effort."
The Warriors' offense also got rolling, especially in the last 4-minute stretch before halftime. In that stretch, Sterling senior Kiarra Harris finished a layup that sparked fellow senior Kaitlyn Bauer to rattle off her own 6-point run, courtesy of a pair of assists from junior Carolynn Hammelman.
"I was just being aggressive," Bauer said. "I was looking for my openings and just driving to the basket. I got a lot of nice looks."
The run was not enough to seize the lead, as Sycamore had a 29-24 lead going into half.
Trailing by seven early in the third quarter, Sterling senior Halie Robinson decided to take advantage of being left open.
Normally a distributer of the ball, Robinson listened to her student section, who was encouraging her to shoot, and she did not disappoint.
The senior scored 10 straight points, hitting a pair of 3s, a layup, and a pair of free throws. This gave the Warriors a spark in the offense, and more importantly, a lead that was held on to until the final buzzer. Robinson finished with 13 points.
"I wasn't really looking for my shot," Robinson said. "But if I was open, usually people yell at me to shoot. I was able to have a lot of open opportunities tonight.
"Usually, I would rather make a nice assist than a nice shot. But with how open I was tonight, I fired away."
Sycamore could not recover from this run. The Warriors' tough defense hardened even more as the second half went on. Gilbert, who looked unstoppable in the first half, was held scoreless the rest of the way.
"I really would like to tell you we changed something," Sterling coach Julie Schroeder said, "but we didn't neccesarily do that. We just did what we were supposed to do a lot better. We showed on screens a lot better, Gabby did a great job of fighting through things. Her teammates were also there to help, and that was the difference."
Without their star player able to produce, the Spartans struggled to score in the second half. A putback by Sycamore sophomore Taiya Hopkins knotted up the score at 42 with 2:13 left.
Sterling took advantage of a Sycamore turnover, and converted it into points as Sandoval and Harris both made a free throw on separate possessions to give the Warriors a 44-42 lead.
With 20.3 seconds left, Sycamore once again committed a costly turnover, as an over-and-back violation gave the Warriors the ball at halfcourt.
The ball was inbounded to Hammelman, who was immediately fouled. She then stepped up to the line and knocked both shots down to put the game on ice.