Rich South uses spurts to pull away in season-opening win

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It took less than a minute in Tuesday night’s opener against host Oak Forest for Rich South to put all of its attributes on display with a steal and fast break basket by Dasia Evans and a three-pointer by Tierney Lockett.

Quick hands.

Speed.

Deadly perimeter shooting.

“We wanted to come out with a real big season opener,” Lockett said after the Stars prevailed 55-35. “I think we have a pretty good team this year. We lost some players (to graduation), but I think we’re pretty good. We talk to each other, communicate well.”

Tierra Webb finished with a game-high 20 points (seven rebounds), while Lockett added 14 points, Evans 12 points and 10 rebounds and Nikia Banks six points.

Maddie Baxa had 15 points and six rebounds and Taylor Sterkowitz 10 rebounds for Oak Forest.

Rich South’s biggest task is finding replacements for the Garrett twins, CiErra and DeAsia, who were a backcourt staple.

“We miss the twins. They were a big part of what we had,” Rich South coach Brian Mays said. “That’s what we’ve been hearing a lot (around the area). But I think offensively we might be even stronger.

“As far as shooting you’ve got Tierney, who used to come off the bench, now in the game (starting). We’ve got Tierney and Tierra (Webb) firing up threes, and Dasia (Evans) can step out there, too, if we needed her to. Defensively, I think we’re just as strong as last year, and bigger.”

The Stars connected seven times from three-point range. None were splashy as one that Lockett swished.

Oak Forest, trailing by as much as 38-14 midway through the third period, roared to life as Baxa keyed an 11-0 run to get within 38-25. Then, as time was expiring, Lockett dribbled the ball past halfcourt and let fly. She drew nothing but net.

It would prove to be a momentum killer.

“Yeah, it did,” Lockett said, smiling. “I was happy to make that shot. I was just in a rhythm. We practice those shots, just playing around. But this is the first time I can remember hitting one like that in my life.”

Webb opened the fourth quarter with another trey to spark a 14-0 start that allowed the Stars to pull away for good.

Oak Forest, in rebuilding mode under new coach Jim Matlon, had one consistent scorer in Baxa, and a solid presence under the basket in 6-foot Sterkowitz. A returning senior, Amy McKeown, got in early foul trouble and never got into a rhythm. The rest?

“We had a lot of kids that gave energy tonight,” Matlon said. “We had 13 kids out there and they played with a lot of heart. We talked today about building blocks, and this was just one of those games that we’re going to build from.”

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