Roland Park girls basketball coach Scott Buckley harbors no illusions about the strength of his team.
"We need turnovers to score," Buckley said. "We need to get our transition game going and attack the basket."
It took more than three quarters for the No. 2 Reds to figure out a way to get that done Sunday against No. 6 St. Frances. But once they did, there was little stopping them in a 48-40 win that could have major implications in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference.
Just moments after falling behind by 12 points on an 11-1 run by St. Frances to start the third quarter, the Reds (6-4, 3-1 conference) answered in resounding fashion by scoring 17 straight of their own.
"Being down 12, we knew we had to pick up our game," said Roland Park forward Lindsey Edwards, who played a key role with eight points and seven rebounds. "I think it really started on the defensive end. Just getting up on them, getting five-second calls, making stops, and then bringing that momentum to the offensive end."
The Reds held St. Frances (8-4, 3-1) without a field goal for 11:30 in the second half as the Panthers made just one of their final 18 shots from the field.
"I just think we really turned up the intensity on the defensive end," Buckley said. "Our ball pressure really wasn't good in the first half and the start of the second half. Then we decided to turn up the heat a little bit, and I think it flustered them, getting all the way up on their ball handlers."
Meanwhile, sophomore guard Jaia Alexander (14 points, six rebounds) and freshman Jeydah Johnson (12 points) came up big offensively, helping Roland Park build a 38-33 lead with 6:36 left.
Foul trouble also played a major role for the Panthers, who lost guard Adre'onia Coleman (13 points) early in the fourth quarter. Roland Park scored nine of its final 12 points at the foul line.
"I thought we gave them too many opportunities — second-chance points and letting them get to the free-throw line," St. Frances coach Jerome Shelton said. "I think that probably looms big in a game like this."
Guards Pere Alexander and Tyeisha Smith also scored 12 and 11, respectively, for St. Frances.
"When you have a lead, you teach, 'don't let the lead take away your intensity,' " Shelton said. "I just thought we made some bad decisions defensively to foul when we didn't have to and then give them some second-chance points by not getting rebounds. … The way you get momentum back is, first you've got to score, and we couldn't do that."
Roland Park 48, St. Frances 40
St. Frances -- Alexander 12, Coleman 13, Jackson 2, Lewis 2, Smith 11, Totals: 13 13-22 40.
Roland Park -- Alexander 14, Edwards 8, Johnson 12, Holder 3, Clay 8, Carter 3. Totals: 15 11-18 48.
Half: St. Frances, 22-20.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun