“A couple of area games and Spring Garden, that’s a pretty good test,” noted Ranburne coach Tim Smith. “We need to step up our defense and definitely need to make sure we stay in good condition.”
The Bulldogs enter 2014 as winners in eight of their last 10 games and sporting a four-game winning streak. The two most recent victories came in the annual Jacksonville Christian Holiday Classic tournament in Jacksonville Friday and Saturday. The Bulldogs defeated Donoho 55-20 in the semifinal round Friday then downed Jacksonville Christian 67-46 Saturday in the championship game.
Smith said following the win over JCA that his team’s goal had been to score in the 20s in the first quarter while holding the Thunder to single-digit points at the same time.
He could just as easily have been talking about the Donoho contest as each game played out in the same fashion. Ranburne led Jacksonville Christian 12-0 after the first four minutes of play and 23-5 when the first quarter ended. Against the Falcons, the first quarter score favored Ranburne 24-6. Neither team could protect the ball against the Bulldogs’ full court pressure and turnovers created an abundance of transition points.
In the championship game, Indiana Morgan scored 22 points, eight in the first quarter push. Jessie Ralston had seven points in the first quarter and 15 for the night. Kat Runels and Hannah Phillips each scored 10 points. Hali Wilson had eight points and Lacey Smith scored two points.
By halftime, Ranburne led JCA 35-13. The Thunder out-pointed the Bulldogs 19-14 in the third quarter but the outcome was never in doubt. The win upped Ranburne’s record to 8-5 for the season. Defeating JCA for the title was particularly sweet as the Thunder downed the Bulldogs in the first round of last year’s tournament.
Wilson led the first-quarter surge against Donoho with 12 points, including four free throws in four tries. She finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. Phillips had 10 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double.
Runels recorded 11 points and seven rebounds. Ralston scored 10 points. Morgan had five points, all in the first quarter, and Smith scored three.
Illness kept Ranburne ‘s Alyssa Smith out of both tournament games but some good came from her absence.
“It gave us a chance to see some other folks and I thought they came through well,” coach Smith said.
“I really do feel good about our depth,” he added.