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Demons build early lead, roll past Rockets 52-36
Demons build early lead, roll past Rockets 52-36By Jim Horvath

In last Friday’s season opener against Chardon, the Bay girls basketball team fell behind early and had to rally for a 60-57 win.

On Wednesday night, the Rockets again fell behind early, this time against rival Westlake. This time, however, there was no comeback as the Demons rolled to a 52-36 win to move to 2-0 on the young season.

Westlake, coming off a big 57-40 win over Rocky River, jumped out to an 11-1 lead in the first 2:23 of the game and never looked back. Eleven Bay turnovers helped fuel the bad start as the Rockets had no answer for the Demons’ full-court pressure defense.

“That’s two games in a row we’re buried ourselves by double digits after the first quarter,” said Bay head coach Chris Brewer, whose team trailed 21-10 by the first quarter’s end.

“It’s so hard to come back from that,” Brewer said. “We kept trying to fight, especially in the second half. We’d get the stop at the defensive end, but we’d come down to the offensive end and we couldn’t put it in.

“Against Chardon, we were able to do that. We’d get a stop and a score, a stop and a score. But tonight, we couldn’t get it done offensively and capitalize so we could go on a run and get back into the game,” he added.

The Rockets trailed by as many as 15 points, 29-14, on a steal and layup by Westlake senior Rachael Trujillo. That came late in the second quarter, with a Trujillo jumper moments later making it 31-19, prompting a Bay timeout with 1:34 left in the half.

That score stood at halftime. While the Rockets were still within striking distance, they would not survive Westlake’s next run in the third quarter.

Bay sophomore Sophie Steyns started off the third with a rebound jumper for two, cutting the Demon lead to 31-21. That’s when Demon junior Maggie Zimmerman went to work.

In the next three minutes, Westlake went on a 10-2 run to increase its lead to 41-23. Zimmerman scored nine of those points on her way to a game-high 16 point performance. Bay answered with buckets by Rachel Jerome and Claire Wilson, but the Demons still had a sizable lead, 41-27, heading into the final quarter.

A Taylor Seton free throw cut the Demon lead to 13, but Westlake’s Katie Carroll scored four of her team’s next six points to push the lead back out to 47-30. A Carroll drive for two with 1:20 left in the game gave the Demons their biggest lead of the game at 52-33.

Wilson led the Rockets with 11 points and eight rebounds, while Seton had 10 points and 14 boards. Kaleigh Sima had nine points on three 3-pointers, two of them coming in the fourth quarter.

Westlake had a balanced attack, with Trujillo following Zimmerman’s effort with 12 points and seven rebounds. Carroll and Lauren Wichman each chipped in with eight points.

“It’s still a young season still, so we’re trying to develop who we are and what we can do in different situations,” said Demons head coach Chip Weiss.

“We’re still working on a lot of combinations out there,” Weiss said. “We need to see what our best combinations are in the different defenses we play, as well as on offense. It’s about match-ups too. Bay’s a a little taller, so it was good for us to work on that.”

Despite his team’s second-straight double digit win, Weiss said his team has plenty to work on.

“We got in a little foul trouble early on, so we had to use a lot of players,” Weiss said. “We’ve got to be a little bit smarter and realize the situations we’re in. We were also working on our communication on the court.

“Offensively, we forced some shots and didn’t run our offense enough. We’d make one pass and shoot, which we didn’t need to do, especially with a good-sized lead. We’re still young, so we have to get better with that and know the situation,” he added.

Westlake hosts Avon Saturday afternoon to continue its non-conference schedule. The Rockets open West Shore Conference play next Wednesday when they host defending champion Rocky River.

“We’ve got to take what happened in this game and learn from it,” Brewer said. “We’ve got to let this one go, regroup and get ready for River, so it doesn’t get any easier.

“We were out there fighting, getting in passing lanes and trying to get steals. We just couldn’t come down and get that score to put any kind of dent in the lead,” he added.

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