The Lamar girls basketball team played hard on the defensive end of the court on Tuesday night, but the Raiders fell victim to lights-out shooting in the fourth quarter to the Brookhaven Academy Cougars in a 55-35 loss at home.
“I really judge things by how hard we played, and I thought we played pretty hard, we just didn’t quite get it done,” Lamar coach Joe Miller said. “I thought we fought hard for three quarters. We just missed too many layups, we missed too many free throws. On the other hand, they took over the fourth quarter.”
Miller said his best player, shooting guard Aryah Grace, had an unusually poor first half on the offensive end of the court that resulted in just two points. Sarah Dudley Reed, who mans the post for the Raiders, came back from the flu to make two baskets and five free throws to cut the Cougars’ lead to 24-20 at halftime.
“(Reed) gives you everything she’s got every day,” Miller said. “Those two have got to carry us on offense. Aryah didn’t quite have her normal game tonight, but she will next game.”
The Raiders took a 33-32 lead at the end of the third quarter, and Grace bounced back with 10 points in the second half. However, her dominant defensive play led to her fouling out in the final quarter, which Miller said really hurt the Raiders’ offense.
“They were doubling her, they were helping on her a lot. She’s got to get 20-plus for us to beat the good teams, and she’s been playing really well,” Miller said. “In my opinion, Aryah is going to be a Division 1 player. We didn’t see it tonight, but we’ll see it next ball game.
Grace hit a two-point bucket to narrow the Brookhaven lead to 36-35 with less than six minutes remaining in the contest, but the Cougars quickly pulled away from the Raiders once they no longer had to deal with Grace’s defense. Lamar did not make a shot in the final five minutes of the game, and Brookhaven banged in five baskets and three free throws to secure the 55-35 win in hostile territory.
“I think if we had shot better tonight and kept pressure on them, they wouldn’t have shot as well as they did in the fourth quarter. I think once they got rolling and got ahead, they hit everything they put up,” Miller said. “I thought it was a good learning game for us. We’re trying to get to where we can compete with the best teams. We didn’t quite make four quarters tonight, but I think it helped us.”