Copley captured a win in the first Copley Holiday Invitational on its home court with a 45-24 victory over Springfield Monday.
The first-quarter score more closely resembled the result of a softball game.
At least, that’s how Copley coach Darryl Anderson Sr. saw it, leading 5-0 after eight minutes of play.
“We hit a grand slam after we sacrificed one in,” Anderson said. “We had great pitching too.”
Neither team scored for nearly five minutes until senior forward and tournament Most Valuable Player Kaela Drake knocked in a basket with 3:40 remaining.
Another scoreless drought ensued before Breaysia Moorer made a 3-pointer with 30 seconds remaining to give the Indians a 5-0 lead after one quarter.
“The girls were really fired up about playing in this Copley Invitational,” Anderson said. “They were fired up to win at home. I had to tell them at the end of the quarter to settle down, relax and just play.”
After a rocky first quarter, the game resumed a more normal pace, albeit a sloppy one.
The Spartans (3-6) turned the ball over 31 times with the Indians (6-5) forcing 16 steals.
“The press really bothered us,” Springfield coach Lori Henary said. “We didn’t handle it well. It’s the same mistakes we’ve been making all year.”
Though Drake only scored nine points, it was clear she was the deciding factor on the court.
With 12 rebounds, five blocks, four assists and a steal, she made her presence known in other ways, letting her teammates handle the scoring.
“I’m more of a team player,” Drake said. “If I see an opportunity for another person to score then I’ll let them take it. I’m not a selfish person. It’s not about me, it’s a team sport.”
Four of Drake’s five blocks came in the second half, including two thunderous swats in the first minute of the second half.
“I don’t know sometimes what we’re seeing when she’s in there,” Henary said. “We know she has three blocks and we’re testing her again.”
Drake was also disruptive in the paint even without getting blocks, forcing slashing guards to pass it outside and physically contesting shot attempts from the post.
“She likes to step outside a little bit more than we would prefer,” Anderson said. “But when she plays inside, rebounds and controls the paint, she can do great things.”
“It feels good to get the MVP,” Drake said, “but more importantly it’s best that our team came together to win the first Copley Invitational.”
Kiley Blachaniec led the Indians in scoring with 11.
The Spartans were led by Allie Rodenbucher’s 13 points.
Cuyahoga Falls 47, Buchtel 38
The Black Tigers (4-7) took third place in the Copley Invitational, led by freshman Emma Freeman.
Freeman finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The Griffins (2-8) were also led by a freshman, Daichelle Hatcher, with 21 points.