Cleveland’s girls basketball team improved to 5-0 with a nonconference victory over visiting Clayton on Tuesday night.
The Rams turned up the intensity on both ends of the court in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Comets (2-3) and post a 46-33 victory.
“I thought we took care of the ball better tonight,” Cleveland coach Chris Danehower said. “We got the ball inside to our post players when we had to and they used their size and strength against a smaller, quicker team.
“That’s what we told them at halftime, that we had to finish our shots inside.”
Senior Myrayna Watkins, a 5-foot-9 wing player, led the Rams with 17 points and 6-foot Tehya Lee and 5-11 Amber Scott had nine points each.
Clayton was able to hang with the Rams for three quarters, but turnovers took their toll as Cleveland used a 14-2 run in the fourth quarter to take a 42-29 lead. The Comets had five turnovers during the six-minute stretch and scored just one basket.
“The key word for us was turnovers,” Clayton coach Marlon Lee said. “We just have to do a better job of taking care of the ball. I can live with missed shots but we just have to take care of the ball.”
Cleveland switched up its defenses between a zone and man-to-man, limiting the Comets’ fast-break opportunities for much of the game.
“We did a fairly good job in transition defense,” Danehower said. “We can always get better but a lot of that is taking good shots and not turning the ball over. I thought in the second half we did a good job of that. When we got into our man defense, I thought we were really good. I thought we were much improved defensively.”
The Rams turned it up a notch in the fourth quarter. After Clayton pulled within 28-27 on a 3-pointer by Endaisha Howard on its first possession of the final period, Cleveland went on a 14-2 run over the next six minutes to put the game away.
Myrayna Watkins, Tehya Lee and Miranda Hinton had big buckets during the pivotal stretch – combining for 13 of the 14 points during the run.
They said it
“We smelled a win,” Cleveland coach Chris Danehower said of his team’s fourth-quarter play. “We are good at that, putting people away. It was an overall good job by our team tonight.”
Three who mattered
Myrayna Watkins, Cleveland: The senior wing player scored a game-high 17 points, driving to the basket for shots and hitting jump shots. If Watkins didn’t make the basket, she drew fouls – hitting five of six free throws for the game.
Tehya Lee, Cleveland: The 6-foot junior scored nine points and had a big basket and a foul shot during the Rams’ fourth-quarter surge.
Asia Todd, Clayton: The freshman guard led the Comets with 11 points.