NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Lake Ridge Academy was excited to show its home crowd what it could do on the basketball court. The only problem being that it set a real tough standard to live up to the rest of the season.
Junior Selena Benz scored 19 points as the Royals jumped out to a 30- point halftime lead en route to a 70-32 win in their home opener Tuesday against Cleveland JFK.
Lake Ridge (2-1) scored the first 11 points of the game, then after the Eagles cut the lead to 11-4, the Royals went on a 26-0 run, holding their opponents scoreless for over 12 minutes.
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“We had a tough loss Friday at Midpark so we really wanted to come home and do something special tonight,”
6-foot senior post Monet Saunders said. “We knew a lot of people came out to see us play tonight,”
Saunders scored only eight points but was a monster on defensive, grabbing 11 rebounds and swatting away six JFK shots.
“All we do in practice is work on defense, so that’s obviously a big part of our game,” she said. “I just made sure I stayed on my feet and got good positioning because they were calling a lot of fouls tonight.”
The Royals must also spend a lot of time working on free throws in practice because they were a perfect 9-for-9 from the foul line, led by Sharday Baines’ 4-for-4.
Benz scored 12 of her game-high 19 points and added four steals.
“We work hard in practice so its feels good when we can come out and get off to a good start,” Benz said. “We didn’t change our focus in the second half because we had a big lead. We just tried to stay focused and put the pressure on them. We know there are going to be games coming up where we need to play harder late in the game.”
The Eagles (0-1) scored 25 of their 32 points in the second half, led by Jessica Alexander who scored all of her team-high 15 points over the final 13 minutes of the game.
First-year Lake Ridge coach Lisa Verhoff-Medvetz was happy how her team hit the ground running.
“We always focus on coming out and being focused, so it was good to see how we played in the first half,” Verhoff-Medvetz said. “We didn’t know what to expect from this team so that made us kind of nervous. I think the girls had some jitters because it was our first home game.
“In the end we were trying to use it as a practice session and move the ball around and work on our passing.”
Although the game was out of hand early, neither team could really empty its bench as each had only had eight players dressed for the game.
Senior guard Sydney Clark had a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. The Royals outrebounded their foes from the Senate Athletic League 39-21.
Kyndall Wellons also had a big game for Lake Ridge scoring 16 points to go along with four rebounds and four steals despite sitting out much of the fourth quarter.