By Matt Fultz - CNHI News Service
Jan. 29, 2014 —
During the first half of Friday night’s game, East Carter coach Hager Easterling said Russell looked like a team who was ticked off.
Ticked off that just over a month ago the Lady Raiders handed them a 41-point loss, easily their largest margin of defeat all season long.
“We thought things were going to be easy again, and Russell, they were ticked off,” he said. “We made them look a lot worse than they really are the first time around.”
Harnessing the extra energy, the Lady Devils started the rematch off strong and it wasn’t long before Easterling was the one who was a little hot under the collar.
Frustrated by his team’s lackadaisical attitude, the long-time coach spent the entire opening half searching for something to motivate his team.
It wasn’t until the third quarter that he found his answer, although he isn’t exactly sure what the answer was.
“I don’t know,” he joked. “But if I did I would be making a whole lot of money selling it.”
Whatever it was that told his team during timeout in the early part of the third quarter certainly worked as East Carter rattled off 11 of the game’s next 12 points to help the host Lady Raiders edge Russell 55-39.
Megan Stickler was pivotal during the stretch on both ends of the court. The junior scored the first six points of the spurt, thanks in large part to her three straight steals on the defensive end.
Russell (13-7), who handled the Lady Raiders’ pressure well most of the night, committed several turnovers on its own end of the floor leading to several easy baskets for East Carter.
“They put continuous pressure on you and you have to be able to handle that pressure,” Russell coach Mandy Layne said. “For two or three possessions we didn’t handle it very well and it turned into an 11-1 run.”
East Carter’s (19-1) run came just on the heels of a 7-0 stretch by Russell that saw the Lady Devils achieve their largest lead of the game, four at 27-23.
Maggie Jachimczuk was the catalyst of the Russell offense as the freshman posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
“She is going to be outstanding,” Layne said of the 5-foot-10 post player. “Every day she comes and works so hard in practice. She just continues to get better and better.”
Once Stickler finally broke the ice, things became much easier for East Carter.
“We really fed off of that,” Easterling said. “We were able to make some shots, too.”
Four players reached double figures for the Lady Raiders. Stickler and Kristen Mayo each added 11, while Bryana Greenhill chipped in with 12. Kelsey Stumbo added 10.