JAMESTOWN — There’s nothing like the feeling of a victory.
The London girls basketball team is basking in that feeling following a rewarding 45-35 triumph over Cedarville on Friday, Dec. 27 at the McDonald’s Holiday Classic played at Greeneview High School.
The Red Raiders (2-6) picked up just their second victory of the season by playing solid defense against a bigger Indians squad and knocking down perimeter shots, but coach Bob Williams sensed a breakthrough coming from his team because they’ve been stringing longer stretches of good basketball together in the last couple weeks.
“I think we’re starting to show that we’re learning the game, showing that we know how to play with a lead,” Williams said. “We’ve had the lead in three other games this year and just didn’t know how to play in that capacity, every game has its flows to and from and you’ve got to know how to answer the other team’s flow.”
London jumped out to a 11-5 advantage but the Indians closed out the first quarter on a 6-0 run and actually took a 13-11 advantage before Williams’ bunch righted the ship and got going again.
The squad was able to slowly build a second-quarter lead thanks to the contribution of many. The Raiders got baskets inside and out from just about everyone on the floor, a concept the coaching staff has been working so hard to build.
“Balance is the key,” he said. “We don’t practice as posts and guards, we practice as a team. We’re all in the same shooting drills. Our post players and guards are all handling the ball and going through the same drills. We’re trying to emphasize that basketball now isn’t just a post-guard game. You’ve gotta be balanced, you have to be a threat at all capacities and we got that (Friday).”
London was led in scoring by sophomore Megan Cox, who earned game MVP honors with her 12-point effort. Freshman Korren Cunningham added 10 points, while sophomore Ally Robertson chipped in six in the win.
Sophomore Talia Frye (nine points) helped swing the game’s momentum for good in favor of the Red Raiders when she took a three-quarter court pass with just 1.2 seconds remaining in the half and let it fly from well beyond the three-point arc and banked it at the buzzer, making it 27-19 London at the break.
“We line up a specific play and call a name,” Williams said. “She got it there in transition, she got her feet set and banked it in. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
“Momentum is hard to come by with us for some reason. It’s hard to put into words but when you find it you want to live off of it. That gave us some momentum heading into the locker room.”
The momentum stayed with London in the third quarter as Cox hit a three-pointer to start the third-quarter scoring and Mackenzie Minner (six points) connected on back-to-back jumpers to increase the advantage to 13 points at (34-21).
“Our depth was good,” Williams said. “We moved the ball well, I couldn’t be happier. That’s probably the best game we’ve played since I’ve been at London the last two years.”
The coach and his staff hope the euphoria that comes with winning will continue to hang around for a while.
“You can tell by the energy we have now,” he said. “We’re smiling now, everyone is more positive because we got a win. We have a game (Saturday) against Buckeye Valley, hopefully this will carry over because last year they beat us by something like 29 points. Today was one of those little step victories for us.”