T.F. South overcomes rust in win over Rich East

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There are nights in a long season where the ball just doesn’t want to cooperate.

Too many turnovers, not enough baskets made.

How to counter it? Visiting Rich East Monday in a nonconference game, T.F. South followed a tried and true formula.

“At the beginning of the season, coach (Steve) B (Breshock) talked about toughness was going to be a big factor for us,” T.F. South’s Ninah Bertrand said. “We want it to be a factor for us, mentally tough and physically tough.”

Gutting its way through an ugly game, T.F. South claimed a 60-51 win, improving to 13-2 overall. The start to the season is the best in Breshock’s tenure at T.F. South since 2006-07.

Bertrand (13 points, 7 rebounds), Cece Keys (12 points) and Ren’ Cia Rolling (12 points, 6 assists) led the way for the visiting Rebels. T.F. South shot 23-of-51 from the field while committing 15 turnovers.

“We’ve only had two practices since our Christmas break, but that’s what happens sometimes, and we fought hard,” Breshock said. “We battled through it.”

Having already closed the first half on a 6-0 run to go up 28-20 at half, the Rebels kept on running into the third. Keys’ eight points in the quarter sparked South who shot a sizzling 9-of-14 from the floor.

Rolling highlighted the run with an athletic layup, hanging in the air to steer clear of the Rich East defender, to put T.F. South up 34-20 early in the third.

“I think the switch went off in all of our heads that it was time to push,” Bertrand said. “That’s what we did.”

Struggling mightily from the floor, Rich East (6-8) finally clicked in the fourth, a deficit as big as 19 shrinking all the way down to eight points with 24 seconds to go in the game.

Rich East’s Jada Banks sparked the fourth quarter effort, scoring 12 of her 22 points in the quarter. Ashley Dennis finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, below her averages of 22 points and 16 rebounds.

“We came together as a team and tried our best to keep our composure,” Bertrand said. “We knew we had to play our game, not theirs.”

Rich East finished 20-of-65 from the floor in the loss.

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