The St. Timothy’s basketball team last played Dec. 17, and did not practice over the winter break, finally getting a workout in before taking on Springdale Prep on Thursday night. The rust from the long layoff certainly showed early as the visiting Lions took a 15-point second-quarter lead.
But then St. Tim’s started to rally, finally finding success getting the ball inside, where it had a size advantage, and wore down Springdale in the second half. Andea Cherisier and Bri Rider led a rally that tied the game in the fourth quarter and forced overtime, where St. Timothy’s controlled play en route to a 58-51 victory.
St. Tim’s needed nearly the whole first half to start finding a rhythm on offense. It could not get the ball inside, but after falling behind 28-13 with just over three minutes left in the first half, St. Timothy’s finally began to push the ball down low and find success.
That began the turnaround, which led to a victory and the team’s first 6-0 start during the four years coach Vernon Harris has been in charge.
“I kept reminding them to get back to what we do best, which is pound it down low,” Harris said. “They got back to controlling the tempo.”
The team did a good job of coming up with second-chance opportunities and put-backs, many of which they could not make in the first two-and-a-half quarters.
“We were trying to rush too much at the beginning,” Rider said. “Then, we slowed down and ran plays. We did a lot of screens and got it inside to our bigs.”
The Lions liked playing at a fast pace and turned the game into a track meet for a long time. They forced 27 turnovers, which left Harris shaking his head after the game, but St. Tim’s did a better job with that later.
However, St. Tim’s kept playing strong defense and forced 26 turnovers, something that helped the host team slowly chip away at the double-digit lead.
Cherisier (16 points, 12 rebounds), Rider (12 points) and Jasmine Johnson (nine points, 12 rebounds) came through in the second half, as did Aryss Macktoon (12 points, seven rebounds, six steals, four assists). St. Tim’s scored 14 of the final 20 in regulation to tie the game at 49 and force overtime.
Macktoon made two baskets while Laela Martinez made three free throws as St. Timothy’s scored nine of 11 in the extra period. Springdale never took the lead in overtime as St. Tim’s stayed in command.
Savannah Brooks led Springdale (3-5) with 11 points.
During the fourth quarter, St. Tim’s repeatedly got the ball to Johnson and Cherisier in the paint and both kept finding high-percentage shots or put-backs. That’s why the team was able to rally from a 43-35 deficit with under five minutes left to force overtime.
Then, in the extra period, Harris added another wrinkle. He had St. Tim’s spread the floor and slow the pace. The team kept making good passes into the paint for strong scoring chances. St. Tim’s controlled the tempo in overtime and was able to do what it wanted more often.
“That’s how they got us,” Springdale coach Brian Chesley said. “They’re big and we had a tough time defending it at times.”
SP- Towns 10, Rodgers 2, Parry 8, Kiley 10, Timmons 6, Nottingham 4, Brooks 11. Totals: 21 5-12 51.
ST- Martinez 3, Jas. Johnson 9, Aksut 6, Cherisier 16, Rider 12, Macktoon 12. Totals: 23 12-14 58.
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Half: SP, 28-22.