After wrapping up the PAC regular season title last week on the road against Fairless, the Lady Riders were in the mood to celebrate a conference championship on their home court. Despite a cold night on offense, the Lady Riders pulled away in the second half to earn the 44-24 victory.
CVCA did everything they could to slow down the game and limit Orrville’s offensive possessions while the Lady Riders were doing their best to get up and down the court. However, Orrville had an ice-cold shooting night from behind the arc, due in large part to the Royals’ inspired defensive effort that held the Lady Riders to just six points, resulting in a 6-6 stalemate at the end of the opening quarter.
With the scoring put on ice from the perimeter, Orrville’s junior forward Mikaila Carpenter took control of the paint in the second quarter, where she chipped in nine points to push Orrville to an 18-9 halftime lead. Carpenter carried the Lady Riders the rest of the way in dominating fashion, where she finished with 25 points and 20 rebounds, scoring 16 in the second half to seal the victory and begin Orrville’s celebration of their first PAC championship in front of the home crowd. Junior guard Mariah Goodard finished with nine points and junior forward Jaylan Snowden added four points for the Red Riders.
The Royals just couldn’t get anything going offensively as Orrville’s defense held them to just nine points in the first half. Kaitlyn Judge, a junior forward for the Royals, scored six of CVCA’s 11 points in the third quarter, but the Red Rider defense closed out the game, holding the Royals to four points in the fourth stanza. Judge led CVCA with 14 points.
Red Riders coach Mark Alberts was happy to see his squad cut down the nets on their home court after the game but knows a few things need cleaned up in order for the Lady Riders to make a deep run in the post season.
“It wasn’t the cleanest game we wanted to see tonight. We are typically a much better shooting team, but CVCA is a good defending team, and they did a good job on defense early on and were really patient on offense, which made it a low-possession game. We would rather run the floor and attempt 60 shots. So when you are not getting a lot of shots in a low-tempo game, you had better make the shots you get. When you start missing shots in games like these, it can magnify. Fortunately we recovered, and Mikaila asserted herself in the post.”
Alberts praised his team’s defense. “Our offense had a night off, but our defense held up and did their job by only allowing 24 points. I’m really pleased with what we did on the defensive end, and it took a total team effort to do it. We wanted to cut the nets down at home in front of our crowd tonight. It was nice to get the win and do it. We are the first Orrville team to win a PAC championship and finished 11-1 with our conference schedule to do it. The girls are pretty proud of that achievement, and we are pretty proud of these girls.”
Orrville is back in action on Saturday, Feb. 10 when they host nonconference rival Wooster. Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy will head home and search for a victory on Saturday, Feb. 10 against Manchester (7-12, 2-9).