Spartans hold off Lady Raiders’ rally
South Warren recorded its sixth straight win on Tuesday evening, but it most certainly didn’t come easy.
The Spartans (24-3 overall, 8-0 District 14), who have already secured the top seed in the District 14 Tournament, had to battle for a 63-47 win over Warren East at Warren East High School.
“When we quit playing defense, that’s what happens,” South Warren coach Blane Embry said. “Everybody looks at how many points we scored and stuff like that, but it basically starts with moving our feet on the defensive end and getting into our spots. Warren East started making some shots and got a little confidence going, and we’d come down and miss wide-open layups.
“All of that is because you’re not fully engaged – not fully engaged in the game.”
South Warren trailed 6-4 early into the game but used an 18-3 run to lead 36-11 at halftime. The Spartans’ advantage grew to 46-16 in the third quarter, but the Lady Raiders used a momentum swinging 19-0 run to fight back before ultimately having their seven-game winning streak ended.
Amaya Lasley and Natalie Pierce each led South Warren with 18 points, while Peyton Ferry added 11. Cressida Duncan carried Warren East (16-11, 4-4) with 18 points, and Cailyn Howard added 13.
Warren East jumped out to a 6-4 lead, but South Warren answered with back-to-back three-pointers to go up 10-6 midway through the first quarter. The Spartans’ surge ultimately turned into a 14-4 run and gave them an 18-8 advantage at the end of one.
South Warren found its groove in the ensuing period, building a 28-10 lead at the 4:00 mark. A three by Pierce and a pair of Lasley free throws then pushed the Spartans’ advantage to 33-10 with three minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
By outscoring the Lady Raiders 18-3 in the second – including a triple just before the buzzer by Lasley – South Warren took a 36-11 lead into the locker room at halftime. Lasley had 15 points at the break, while Duncan had six for Warren East.
“I told them in the first half that we come out with 10 points and were pretty much down by 30, and for us to fight back and lose by 16, it’s like I told the girls in the locker room, ‘I’m proud of that,’” Warren East coach Orlando Hayden said. “First of all, we weren’t even supposed to be here anyway. We’ve surprised everyone so far.
“To lose by 16 (to South Warren), that’s great.”
The Spartans stretched their advantage to 30 points at 46-16 at the 3:42 mark of the third quarter. Warren East responded with an 12-0 run – which was highlighted by threes from Hailey Hymer and Howard – but it still trailed 46-28 entering the fourth.
That said run by the Lady Raiders suddenly became a 19-0 spurt, and they later cut South Warren’s lead to just 12 at 58-46 with 2:19 left. Although East fought back, the Spartans were able to hold off the home team for another District 14 win – and one on the road.
“It was good for us,” said Embry. “They need to understand that it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, you have to play all the way through the bell. We haven’t had to play a full game really in a long time.”