In the words of Rapid City Stevens girls' basketball coach Michael Brooks, balance is nice.
He got that and then some, as senior Lexus Eagle Chasing and sophomore Kyah Watson took turns in leading the Raiders to a big 57-38 win over cross-town rival Rapid City Central Thursday night at Carold Heier Gymnasium.
Eagle Chasing was red hot in the first half with five 3-pointers and 17 points as she did all of her scoring in the first two periods of play. Watson, running the show from the point-guard position, scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half.
"We need that especially with where we are at right now with the development of kind of playing differently. To have that balance from another guard is huge," Brooks said. "There was no doubt that Lexus was on fire, and we're going to keep feeding her the ball. It was nice that when she wasn't on fire, somebody else stepped up and allowed ourselves to continue to score and be successful."
Aly Hammon and Elizabeth Schaefer also scored 11 points each for the Raiders.
Eagle Chasing stepped up Thursday night as the Raiders received some emotional losses last week when senior Mya Hendry and sophomore Grace Martin were lost because of knee injuries.
Eagle Chasing said that when they get open, they share the basketball.
"We have to change our offense and make it work, and our defense. When the defense comes, the offense will come," Eagle Chasing said. "And we need some of the younger players to step up, and they are doing a good job in doing that."
Stevens, 14-2, broke open a close game late in the second period and outscored the Cobblers 18-7 in the third to break things open.
"It's always a big game. A lot of nerves come along with that. We just had to play hard and play together," Watson said.
Both teams came out shooting well from the outside with Bailey Johnson hitting a pair of 3-pointers for Central and Eagle Chasing three straight for Stevens as the Raiders led 14-12 after one period.
The Cobblers had the hot hand early in the second with the first five points before the Raiders settled in.
Two straight jump shots by Schaefer put Stevens back in front 20-17 and Laura Petik's late 3-pointer and another jumper by Watson gave the Raiders a 28-21 halftime lead.
Watson and Hammon both hit 3-pointers for the Raiders in the third and Watson added a pair of treys in the fourth.
"For us, the first two minutes is the most important, starting with defense, and then the offense will come," Watson said. "We'll just have to keep attacking and that will create shots."
Brooks said he thought his team did a good job at creating turnovers at key moments and allowing themselves to be spurred on offensively.
"There are some things that we did in creating some turnovers that allowed us to get some easy buckets that loosened us up a little it," Brooks said. "That is one thing we are able to do when we have a stable of players, we are able to press more. Right now we have to be smart at where we use our energy so we are able to play great defense and have our legs at big moments."
For the Cobblers, Johnson led the way with 12 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Juneau Jones also fouled out the Central after scoring seven points and grabbing six rebounds.
"I thought we played well for about a quarter and a half; we hung with them," Central coach Kraig Blomme said. "About midpoint of the second quarter, the game really changed. I think they picked up their defense and we weren't able to get baskets. From that point on, they continually expanded the lead."
After dropping their first four games of the season, Central had won seven of 10 heading into Thursday night. Blomme said he told his team after the game that as the season goes, there will be some some ups and downs.
"It's not like everything we did tonight was horrible," he said. "I thought we had some good moments. We have to learn from it playing against a high quality team. We'll have some more next weekend and hopefully we can be a better team from this game."
Central will return to action next week hosting Sioux Falls Lincoln and Washington.
It was an important win for the Raiders against a rival that has been playing better as of late. Brooks said they need anything positive with what they have been through.
"It's emotional. You have a senior (Hendry) who goes down, a leader, and that always takes the wind out of your sails," he said. "But to see how we responded in the last three games, especially in a big, emotional game like this, was big. Now we have to focus on Sturgis and the Sioux Falls teams."
The two teams, meanwhile, will meet again on Feb. 20, this time at Central's Naasz Gymnasium.
"It's always great to win the first one, but they are going to come back strong and come back wanting to beat us," Eagle Chasing said. "We have to come back even stronger."