Basketball (W)

Patriots drop two in Florida

     It was a short lived break for Lena Bramblett’s squad as they returned to action on December 29th for a trip to the “Sunshine State” to compete in the Ave Maria Classic. The Patriots move to 5-11 after dropping both games to the host Gyrenes. Ave Maria (9-4) took the first game 88-83 in overtime, they then won the back end of the two day event 70-63 on Tuesday.

Game 1

     Sasha Ruiz-Lopez (Ft. Myers, Fla.) and Heather Sandlin (Florence, Ky.) posted double-doubles in the opening game against the Gyrenes. Ruiz-Lopez led the Patriots in scoring and rebounding with 20 and 10, respectively. Sandlin finished with 13 points and 10 assists. Miranda Wilson (Corbin, Ky.) pitched in with 15 points. Mackenzie Myers (Taylorsville, Ky.) poured in a season-high 11 points.

     The home squad got off to a hot start to begin the game taking a 12-4 lead five minutes into the game. The Patriots quickly cut the lead in half after back-to-back field goals by Brooke Gee (Ashland, Ky.) and Cora Moore (Louisville, Ky.). The Gyrenes held a comfortable lead for most of the half as they led by seven, 24-17, with 4:53 remaining in the half, but after back-to-back 3’s by Sandlin and Wilson the lead was back down to one. The Gyrenes answered with a 10-3 run to push their lead back to eight with three minutes remaining. The Patriots cut the lead to three, 37-34, heading into the break.

     The Gyrenes opened the second half on a quick 4-0 spurt to take a seven point advantage. The Patriots fought back and took their first lead of the game with 13:41 remaining after back-to-back baskets by Ruiz-Lopez. The home team tied the game up with 9:15 remaining, but the Patriots stormed back with a 13-4 run take their largest lead of the game, 66-57. Things looked good for the Patriots as they held a 10 point advantage with 3:11 remaining, but the home team made one final push. Ave Maria went on a 13-3 run to tie the game at 73 apiece with 20 seconds remaining. The visiting Patriots had a chance to win the game with five seconds remaining, but Ruiz-Lopez missed a pair of freebies as the game headed into overtime.

     The overtime period proved to be a back and forth battle, but the home team took the lead for good with 3:25 remaining in OT. The Gyrenes led by as many as six in OT en route to an 88-83 victory.

Game 2

     The Patriots dropped their second game in as many days to the Gyrenes, 70-63, on Tuesday. The Patriots had four players score in double figures led by Miranda Wilson and Sasha Ruiz-Lopez who each scored 13 points. Heather Sandlin pitched in with 11 points. Mackenzie Myers turned in a strong performance with 10 points.

     The opening frame was a back and forth battle between the two teams, but after the game was tied for the fifth time at 19 apiece the home team took advantage. After holding a 22-21 advantage, the Gyrenes went on a 12-2 run to extend their lead to double digits at 11 with 3:16 remaining in the half. St. Catharine never got the lead under eight for the remainder of the half as the home team took a 39-30 lead into the locker room.

     The Patriots got off to a cold start to open the second half as they missed their first 12 shots to begin the half. Ava Maria capitalized on the cold start going on an 11-3 to widen their lead to 17, 50-33, with 11:36 remaining. After trailing by as many as 20 in the second half, St. Catharine cut the lead to six, but the Gyrenes sank their freebies down the stretch to hold on for a 70-63 win.

     The Patriots will look to begin the New Year on the right foot when they host Ohio Christian University on January 15th at 5:30 pm.
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