Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Girls basketball: Lady Raiders use early run to put away Denton
So much for slipping from the top.
Ryan left little doubt as to its front-running status in District 4-4A on Friday night, jumping out to a double-digit lead early on the way to thumping Denton 67-41 at home and winning its fourth straight district game.
"You don't want to get complacent," Lady Raiders head coach Monesha Allen said. "I feel good and I'm proud of the girls, but we just have to make sure that we're still competing every night. We had a couple missed assignments tonight, so there's still things to work on and improve on for sure."
Ryan's quest to repeat as district champions, after clinching the title in a tiebreaker game with The Colony last season, looked to be in jeopardy after a rough first half of the season that saw it enter district play below .500. Ravaged by injuries for most of the early part of the season, it seemed like the Lady Raiders were been in danger of losing their grip on the district.
Facing a Denton (12-8, 2-2) team that has looked plenty capable of making a run for a playoff spot of its own, Ryan jumped out to a 15-point lead after scoring 17 of the game's first 19 points.
The Lady Broncos struggled with turnovers all night, but particularly in the first quarter. Denton turned the ball over 10 times in the first eight minutes alone while shooting just 11 percent from the floor.
In total, the Lady Broncos turned the ball over 30 times on the night.
"It's been an ongoing thing here at Ryan," Denton head coach Dennis Krishka said. "We can't seem to handle their pressure."
Those issues were only exacerbated by the early foul trouble of star Denton point guard Jasmine Taylor, who left with 2:35 remaining in the first quarter with three fouls and didn't return until early in the second. By that time, Ryan had already built a 21-4 lead and was rolling to an easy win.
"Unfortunately, they have a few weak ball-handlers," Allen said. "We wanted to try and take advantage of that with turnovers and on the offensive end, and I think we did a good job of that."
Denton did manage to recover after its abysmal start, outscoring Ryan in both the second and third quarters and trimming the lead down to 12 by the start of the fourth quarter. In the final minutes, however, the Lady Raiders quickly pulled away on a 19-3 run to put any doubt to rest.
Teana Ogden led Ryan with a game-high 17 points on the night to go along with five rebounds. Deborah Holcomb added 14 points with six rebounds, while Paige Knight had 10 points.
Denton, meanwhile, got 16 points and five rebounds from Jamecia Brown, who shot 7-for-11 from the floor. Kaille Ralston, meanwhile, had a team-high eight rebounds and six points while Jacoiya Brown had six points and seven rebounds.
After getting in foul trouble early, Taylor finished the night with eight points before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.
Although Krishka was unhappy with the loss, he did manage to find a silver lining for a team that, a year ago, was significantly less competitive.
"Here's how I look at the whole thing," he said. "Last year at the same stage we were down 25 or more at halftime. We were out of the game. Tonight we were down by 12 going into the fourth quarter. Things got away from us a little bit in the fourth, but after that start we played with them pretty doggone even."
Ryan 67, Denton 41
Denton 17 11 15 11 -- 41
Ryan 2 13 14 25 -- 67
Denton (12-8, 2-2) - Jamecia Brown 16, Jasmine Taylor 8, Kaille Ralston 6, Jacoiya Brown 6, LeAndra Johnson, Sydne McDade 2, Erica Mendoza 1.
Ryan (12-11, 4-0) - Teana Ogden 17, Deborah Holcomb 14, Paige Knight 10, Halee Clark 9, Rasheeba Walker 8, Jasmine Vasquez 3, Danielle Richardson 3, Mariah Young 2, Brittney Buckhanan 1.