The Ryan Lady Raiders had a chance to gain a big win against a depleted roster and the presumed favorites to win District 5-5A.
But in the district opener for Ryan and Flower Mound Marcus, the Lady Raiders couldn’t find a way to open district play with a reassuring win.
In a game full of runs, Ryan’s final rally fell short, and Marcus opened the part of the season that counts with a 35-30 victory at Billy Ryan Gym on Friday night.
“The game was right there in reach,” Ryan head coach Monesha Allen said. “It just hurts when you don’t go get it.
Marcus (20-5) was without starting juniors Ashley James and Morgan Easley. Easley came into the contest as the team’s leading scorer and James is the team’s starting point guard.
Senior guard Sierra Bone, who’s signed to play at Central Arkansas, and senior guard Alex Lapeyrolerie, who’s signed to play at New Mexico, stepped in for the missing pair.
Lapeyrolerie was the only player for either team to score in double digits. She scored her 10th and final point on a late free throw, Marcus’ last point of the game.
Ryan senior point guard Teana Ogden, an Oral Roberts pledge, struggled from the field and finished with seven points. Senior post Danielle Richardson led the Lady Raiders with nine points.
Allen lamented mental lapses down the stretch that ultimately sank Ryan (9-13) further below the .500 mark.
At points when Ryan seemed to be on the verge to overtake a shorthanded Lady Marauders team, Ryan couldn’t completely close the gap as Marcus stretched its lead as the clock dwindled and handed the Lady Raiders the loss.
“I felt we were in the driver’s seat,” Allen said. “Granted, we weren’t in the lead, but we had made a good run and just felt that run was going to give us those points to put us over the edge.”
Ryan’s offensive execution struggled in the second half. After Ogden hit a basket with 4:40 left in the third quarter, Ryan failed to hit another field goal until Jeffreyonna Holley nailed a 3-pointer with 3:40 left in the game, chopping the deficit to six points.
Richardson hit another basket to cut the lead to four with 1:09 left before Marcus forced late turnovers and Ryan committed late fouls to cement the outcome.
“These girls all year have found a way to win, no matter what,” Marcus head coach Fred Jones said. “It actually gives us a little bit of confidence, knowing they’ll find a way and do whatever it takes to get that win.”
Ryan’s offense scored in stretches and at times seemed hesitant to hoist shots against Marcus’ defense. The Lady Raiders didn’t make their first field goal of the game until guard Ashtyn Lovett knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 5:48 left in the first half.
But the Lady Marauders didn’t build any separation, as Lovett’s basket cut Marcus’ advantage to two points. Marcus took an 18-16 lead into halftime, as Ryan closed the first half with a 6-0 run.
The offense’s inconsistency carried over into the second half. Ryan only scored 14 points in the final 16 minutes of the game.
“Once again, we just look for certain people to score,” Allen said. “We all have to be scoring threats. We have a lot of forwards on the perimeter that are not comfortable with the game on the perimeter.”
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Flower Mound Marcus 35, Ryan 30
Marcus 8 10 7 10 — 35
Ryan 3 13 4 10 — 30
Marcus (20-5, 1-0) — Alex Lapeyrolerie 10, Taylor Roof, 7, Jenna David 6, Sierra Bone 4, Vanessa Jones 4, Alex Legg 2, Jessie O’Malley 2.
Ryan (9-13, 0-1) — Danielle Richardson 9, Teana Ogden 7, Mariah Young 6, Jefferyonna Holley 3, Ashtyn Lovett 3, Tichina Coleman 2.