A quick start to the game and a big third quarter sparked the Rapid City Stevens girls' basketball team to an 81-46 win over Pierre on Friday night at Heier Gymnasium.
The Raiders pressed the Governors into a handful of early turnovers while scoring the first 12 points of the game. Then, after Pierre clawed back within five points in the second quarter and were within nine at the half, Stevens outscored the Govs 23-6 in the third quarter to retake control of the game.
“Pierre, they’re scrappy,” Raider coach Travis Swartz said after his team kept its record unblemished through seven games. “We knew from scouting them it didn’t matter if they were up or down. They play the same from start to finish. Even though we jumped out to that big lead, we knew they’d fight back.”
A quick, efficient start put Stevens in control early. The Raiders pressed the Governors from the opening tip to the game, and Pierre struggled to handle the pressure. Stevens got points from four different players while jumping out to a 12-0 lead in just over two minutes of play.
“We were super pumped up for the game,” Raider senior Grace Martin said. “We all wanted to go out and show them whose house they were in, and just give it all we got.
“We knew Pierre played a lot like us; they like to run, they like to jump, they like to be all up in you, so we knew how to prepare. We outran them and outhustled them as a team.”
Senior Kyah Watson scored 10 of her game-high 27 points during the first frame, which ended with the Raiders leading 24-12.
But some of the momentum the Govs gathered while cutting Stevens’ 22-3 lead at the 5-minute mark to 12 points at the quarter break carried over into the second quarter. Remington Price, who led Pierre with 11 points, drained a 3-pointer from the left corner to pull Pierre within 26-21 with 3:07 to go before halftime.
After being held scoreless for five minutes, Stevens’ offense woke up and scored seven straight points before Governor guard Miah Kienholz hit a 3-pointer right before the halftime buzzer to make it 33-24 Raiders.
“I think our legs got to us a little bit after having a game on Tuesday,” Swartz pointed out. “Pierre settled down and they were able to execute some things on offense. They made a game out of it defensively; they really got after us.”
Stevens came out of halftime and went to work.
Raider Jayda McNabb, a sophomore, scored on Stevens’ first possession of the second half. Watson followed with a close-range jumper then McNabb scored again, this time off a steal and assist by Bailee Sobczak. Kenadi Rising hit a 3-pointer and added a basket seconds later when she got behind the Govs’ after Watson pulled down a defensive rebound and fed the ball ahead to Rising for a layup.
Stevens’ lead jumped from nine points to 18 in a matter of five minutes. The Raiders, who went to a 2-3 zone defense at the start of the second half, outscored Pierre 23-6 during the third quarter to take control of the contest.
“That zone seemed to disrupt some things,” Swartz said. “We covered the court really well and found their shooters. We knew where they were and didn’t get pinned or screened down low.”
Swartz was pleased with his team’s unselfishness during Friday’s win. The Raiders, who got 12 points from McNabb, 11 from Martin and 10 from Grace Ellis, finished with 31 assists on 32 made field goals. Ellis finished with 10 of those assists.
The Raiders (8-0) turn around and play their third game of the week today, tipping off at 1:30 p.m. against Aberdeen Central at Heier Gymnasium.