Published: January 3, 2014
Tenacious defense and the inside scoring of Liah Davis kept Sand Creek at arm's length from Valor Christian through the first half of Friday's nonleague girls' basketball game.
And once Oliana Squires and the rest of her teammates found their scoring touch, the host Scorpions were off and running, pulling away from the Eagles, 67-34 to resume play after the holiday break.
"It's always interesting coming back from break," Sand Creek coach Jamie Carey said. "You're never quite sure what you're going to get. I see them practice and see how they can score, so if they miss, I'm surprised. I just thought we had a balanced attack, and a lot of offensive rebounds were big to our success."
Davis scored 14 of her game-high 18 points in the first half, Squires added 15 of her 17 in the second half, and Sand Creek (4-2) forced 22 turnovers as it held Valor Christian (7-3) 22 points below its season average.
The Scorpions' outside scoring threats of Mikayla Reese, Oliana and J'nae Squires struggled, making just five shots combined in the game's first two quarters. That's when Sand Creek leaned on Davis, who went 6 for 7 from the floor to help her team to a 27-15 lead at halftime.
Oliana Squires hit her first three shots of the second half, all 3-pointers, sparking a 15-2 run, and the Scorpions weren't threatened the rest of the night. Sand Creek put up 20 points in each of the last two quarters to atone for a slow start.
"Liah held the team in the first half," Oliana Squires said. "I just came out in the second half, knowing I had to do better. We can be really good when we're all clicking."
Reese added 16 points for the Scorpions, who face Liberty on Saturday before traveling to rival Palmer Ridge on Tuesday in the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference opener.
Early in the second quarter, Valor cut the deficit to 10-9 when Sara Gibson hit a driving hook shot. That was the closest the Eagles got, felled by turnovers and an outside game that made just 22 percent of its shots (11 of 50).
Kendall Bradbury was the Eagles' lone scorer in double figures with 11 points.
"In the first half, we didn't execute on offense, and when you dig yourself a hole, it makes it tough to come back," Eagles coach Sherryl Klosterman said. "Our offense and timing were off, but we can't blame it on the break. They're a good team, one we aspire to be like. We'll take this as a lesson and learn and keep moving forward."