By Dennis Atwood - firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- The Randolph-Macon Academy girls basketball squad improved its season record to 14-0 by overwhelming Warren County rival St. John's, 41-8, on Monday evening.
The Yellow Jackets got balanced scoring with juniors Kalie Plasier and Cara Brown notching 10 points each, joined by junior Erin Dullahan and freshman Anastasia Voellm tossing in eight each.
Also balanced were the turnover totals, with R-MA committing 29 to 28 for St. John's.
Nineteen of the R-MA turnovers came in the second half (15 in the fourth quarter) when St. John's applied a man-to-man defense and a full-court press, as opposed to the zone arrays it used in the first half.
R-MA had some difficulty with the new defensive look, especially in the fourth quarter, when substitutes got the majority of the minutes for the Yellow Jackets.
"We definitely could have played a lot better today," Brown said. "We were definitely focused in the first half and towards the beginning of the third quarter, but we just started getting really sloppy [after that]."
Free-throw shooting was a positive facet of the contest for the Yellow Jackets, who reversed their season mark of 36 percent by going 7-for-11 from the charity stripe for 63.6 percent.
R-MA also achieved a 25-15 rebounding edge, with Allyson McManus, Brown and Jamie Snyder pulling down five each.
Although it had several good shot opportunities, St. John's (5-9), with players from the Catholic parish throughout Warren County, couldn't buy a bucket until the 2:35 mark in the second quarter. The imaginary lid stayed over the St. John's basket for most of the second half.
"I definitely liked way we played in the second half, better than the first," second-year St. John's coach Tom McGraw said. "They're obviously a very experienced team and they were very effective against our first-half zone. I told the girls our goal was to only give up our average of about 40 points, and the big challenge for us is to score more.
"We moved the ball pretty well early on, but we just couldn't finish the open shots. In the second half the girls really wanted to press and I thought that was the right move and it sped up the game a little."
R-MA clinched the Delaney Conference Division II regular-season championship with a win over Quantico on Jan. 25. The Yellow Jackets have five games remaining on their regular-season schedule.
"It sounds funny after a 41-8 result, but I don't think we played as well as we have in the past, or well as we should," Yellow Jackets coach George Amos said. "We tried to run specific offensive sets and kept trying to run them [not succeeding as often as we should]."
Randolph-Macon's season scoring leader Plasier (10.8 per game) was not smiling after the contest.
"We didn't play too good," Plasier said. "We'll be working on our running and executing our plays better."
Yellow Jackets point guard Voellm had five steals and four assists.