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The debut for new Roff girls coach Blake Crawford didn’t exactly go as he and his Lady Tigers had planned. But after being tested for 30 minutes by an upset-minded Vanoss team with new head coach Dillon Snow at the helm, Crawford was glad to his squad wrap up a 37-29 season-opening win.
“The first win is always a good win. But we were definitely rusty and missed a lot of shots,” Crawford said.
In the boys contest, host Roff used a relentless defense to overcome some offensive struggles in a 47-35 win over short-handed Vanoss.
Both Roff teams return home Tuesday, hosting Varnum while Vanoss takes a week off before Calvin visits Friday night.
Roff 37, Vanoss 29
With the addition of Crawford and his junior daughter Breecia, the Lady Tigers are considered to be one of the Pontotoc Conference title contenders.
But with Vanoss dictating a slow-paced, deliberate tempo, the Roff offense didn’t ever really get untracked.
In fact, the Lady Wolves grinded to a 12-10 lead at halftime.
“We turned up the tempo a little bit. We want to score some transition baskets, and we didn’t have any in the first half. You can look at the halftime score and tell the tempo was in their favor,” Crawford said.
There were three ties in the third quarter alone before Roff carried a slim 19-17 advantage heading into the final eight minutes.
Roff senior standout Lauren Trimmer scored 11 of her 15 points in the second half. She stopped and popped a 3-pointer from way downtown with 4:09 left that capped a 9-3 RHS surge that put the host on top 28-20. Crystal Fredrick answered with a triple of her own, and Toni Prince followed with two free throws at the 2:04 mark to get Vanoss within 28-25.
Sophomore reserve Jalee Hood then took over for Roff. She scored on back-to-back strong baseline moves to the basket — including one three-point play — and later hit a fast-break bucket to finally give the Lady Tigers a 35-27 lead and some much-needed breathing room with less than a minute left.
“Hood was a spark. She just turned it on and got to the rim a couple of times. We needed that bad. It busted their little zone apart,” Crawford said.
Like Trimmer, Hood also had a quiet first half but scored 11 of her game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter.
Kalli Mowdy overcame some early foul trouble to score 12 points for Vanoss while Frederick also hit double digits with 10.
The teams combined for 44 turnovers, 26 by Vanoss and 18 by Roff.
Roff 47, Vanoss 35
Junior Hunter Larsh hit four of Roff’s seven 3-pointers and led the sporadic Roff offense with a game-high 16 points. His trey at the halftime buzzer — thanks to a nice assist from Tanton Elred — gave the Tigers a 27-21 lead. Vanoss stayed close through the first two frames at the free-throw line.
The visitors had made 12-of-17 free shots through two quarters, compared to a 0-for-3 effort by Roff.
Jake Grimm’s steal and layup with just under three minutes left in the third quarter kept Vanoss within seven at 34-27. But Dalton Madden hit two free throws, and C.J. Johnson buried a 3-pointer from the left corner with 8.2 ticks left that gave the hosts their first double-digit lead at 39-27.
Lonnie Petersen put back his own miss with just over two minutes left to give Roff its biggest lead at 43-30.
Roff head coach Bo Thomason, like Crawford, was expecting his team to score a few more points.
“I guarantee you, that’s the first thing I told the kids. That's not the way I drew it up, but I’ll take a ‘W’ that’s for sure,” Thomason said.
Roff made 17 turnovers in the opener and missed 40 field goal attempts.
“We’re trying to play a little more up tempo — a little more get-in-your-face defense — and they’re still not used to it. They’re using hands and not moving feet, little things we’ll work on and are fixable,” Thomason said.
No other Roff player reached double digits, but Petersen and Madden (who fouled out) addd eight points each. Petersen would addd nine rebounds and four steals to his productive outing.
Junior Dayton Phillips had a big night for the Wolves, finishing with 12 points, 10 rebounds and three steals while roaming the paint. Rickey Phillips, one of three freshmen starters on this night for the Wolves, added 11 points. Vanoss was without the services of regulars Blake Cooper and A.J. Christie. Grimm also reached double figures with 10.
The Wolves were also hurt by 23 turnovers.