Coming off a tough loss to Heathwood Hall on Tuesday, Orangeburg Prep head coach Jan Stoudenmire knew her team needed a win in order to get back on the right track.
With Dorchester Academy paying the Lady Indians a visit on Wednesday, the task of coming away with a win wasn’t going to be easy ... and Stoudenmire knew that. However, Elizabeth Rheney’s 11 points, five steals and six rebounds helped OPS come away with a hard-fought 42-40 win over the Lady Raiders.
The Lady Indians (15-7, 1-1) took a quick 6-1 lead over Dorchester, but the Lady Raiders were unfazed by the OPS run and put together a 9-0 run led by Julianna McAlhany, Tayler Barcomb and Ashlyn Fralix to come away with a 12-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Orangeburg Prep turned up the defensive pressure on the Lady Raiders as they held the visitors to just one field goal in the second quarter scored by Fralix at the 1:21 mark. Before that, the Lady Indians went on a 10-0 tear with Elizabeth Rheney leading the charge. The senior scored four of her team-high 11 points, allowing OPS to enter the locker room with a 20-14 lead at the half.
“Liz is always going to play hard,” Stoudenmire said. “She comes up with big steals and has come up with big steals all year long. She is going to give us everything she’s got. Her shot’s a little bit flat, but she has been staying after and working on that. Hopefully as the season goes on and we get down into region play, that’s going to come on and get a little bit better.”
The Lady Indians would go up as many as 11 in the third quarter, but Barcomb would not allow her team to go down without a fight. While the Lady Indians struggled at times during the quarter, the Lady Raiders guard recorded nine of her game-high 20 points. Still, Dorchester trailed 33-26 at the end of three.
Kacey Bair and Cassidy Hills scored two quick baskets for OPS to extend the home team’s lead to 37-26 with 7:02 to go, but Dorchester continued to attack the basket, forcing the Lady Indians to put them on the free throw line. The Lady Raiders would go 8-of-10 from the charity stripe in the quarter to make things close. In the end, it was Julia Bonnette’s clutch free throws with 1:21 left that gave OPS the separation they needed to hold off DA.
With Dorchester behind them, OPS sets their sights on Laurence Manning on Friday. While the win was a tough one for the Lady Indians, it gives them an idea of how they may want to approach their region showdown with the Lady Swampcats.
“I think that we’ll learn a lot because we’ve got our region games coming up,” Stoudenmire said. “We’ve got Laurence Manning this Friday night, who kind of matches up a lot like Dorchester. They do a lot of the same things Dorchester does. So, that will help us for that game. In our region, our teams are so close. So, that game will help us going into our region play tremendously, I think.”
Following the girls game, the OPS boys team survived a tough game against Dorchester Academy thanks to an 11-point fourth quarter surge by Kyle Stokes that lifted the Indians to a 56-50 win.
“It was tough,” Stokes said. “We started out slow. We’ve been starting out really slow in the past few games and we’ve been trying to pick it up. At the end, we got to play OP basketball, push the ball in and make shots.”
Dorchester had the hot hand in the field early. Vance Collier tallied six points in the opening period to help the Raiders take a 15-4 lead, but the Indians were able to close the gap with a 9-0 scoring spurt of their own, led by Derek Andrews and Chris Hudson, making it a 15-13 game in favor of the visiting Raiders.
Stokes Brownlee found his shooting touch in the second as he scored six of his 14 points before the first half was over, pushing Dorchester ahead 30-28 at the half.
“Anytime you get that type of performance from a sophomore,” Raiders head coach Mark Fralix said, “it’s big. He’s up and coming. He’s going to pay dividends down the road for us.”
Following a sluggish third quarter by both teams, Stokes took over in the fourth. The senior OPS guard went 7-of-8 from the free throw line to finish the night with 18 points.
“Kyle is one of our captains,” Ripley said. “I think that he, which he should, needs to start stepping up a little bit more as a senior captain. It’s good to see him do that tonight. He hit some big free throws for us. He was smart.”
The Indians move to 14-8 overall and they’ll face Laurence Manning on Friday. Meanwhile, the Raiders, who fall to 14-6 on the season, won’t hang their heads about this loss. In fact, they have a lot to take away from it according to Fralix.
“You take away the physicality of it,” Fralix said. “Their shot blockers, we don’t face that in Double-A. We don’t have it in our region or who we’ve played. So anytime I can come in and play a Triple-A team like Laurence Manning or OP and come away with the physicality, how they beat us around and their speed ... it helps us down the road.”
OPS (42) — Elizabeth Rheney 11, Bonnette 9, Mims 8, Hills 6, Stephens 4, Robinson 2, Bair 2.
DA (40) — Tayler Barcomb 20, Ashlyn Fralix 11, Smoak 5, McAlhany 3, Wilds 1.
OPS (56) — Kyle Stokes 18, Chris Hudson 10, Trimmier 7, Mirmow 6, Murray 6, McCurry 5, Andrews 4.
DA (53) — Stokes Brownlee 14, Daniel Fralix 12, Collier 8, Weathers 7, Mizzell 6, Mims 4, Judy 2.
Orangeburg Prep 40, Dorchester Academy 10
Victoria Williams scored 12 points while Sheena Patel finished with six for the Lady Indians (12-1, 1-1), who travel to Laurence Manning on Friday. Effie Moore led the Lady Raiders with four points.
Orangeburg Prep 45, Dorchester Academy 35
Wesley Ott’s 14 points and nine rebounds led the Indians, who improve to 5-10 on the season. Chris Brown added eight poinits while Chris Johnson chipped in with seven.
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