Lady Roadrunners 60, Lon Morris 51
AC's Tyeka Ranton notched yet another double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds, Carenn Baylor added 14 and the Lady Roadrunner defense forced 25 turnovers in handling the Lady Bearcats 60-51 at Shands Gym.
Brenda Adhiambo and Jasamine Reeves led the Lady Bearcats (10-15, 6-9) with 12 points each.
The Lady ‘Runners (23-5, 11-5) maintained their grasp as the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Region XIV conference tournament scheduled to begin a week from Thursday. Lon Morris fell to 10-15, 6-8 with the loss.
Saturday's win gave the Lady Roadrunners a measure of payback: The Lady Bearcats handed AC its first loss of the season back on Jan. 6th, an 85-83 setback after which head coach Byron Coleman said, "We just got outplayed on both ends of the floor."
Coleman sang a different tune on Saturday during his post-game interview.
"We started off a little slowly, and we weren't playing as well defensively as what we wanted," Coleman said of his team's falling behind by nine points before the half. "I've said before, we're a better team when we're scoring off our defensive plays. We made the steals early, but missing those shots in transition really hurt because we couldn't get back in time to stop them from scoring."
Those factors allowed the Lady Bearcats to build a nine-point lead by the 10:00 mark of the first half, a deficit AC was able to trim to three before the break.
The Lady ‘Runners then exploded for a 23-3 run in the second half to cruise to their 23rd win of the season and 11th in conference play.
AC will travel to San Jacinto Wednesday night, with game time set for 5:30 p.m.
Roadrunners 72, Lon Morris 57
AC head coach Todd Neighbors called Saturday's win over Lon Morris "the biggest win of our season."
That wasn't hyperbole sprung from seeing his team snap a three-game losing streak; that was Neighbors acknowledging that his Roadrunners were back in position to earn a post-season berth in the upcoming tournament.
"The conference season is such a grind, especially for these younger players," Neighbors said. "We were looking at films of when we first came out of the holiday break compared to these last three losses, and even the players could see the difference in the energy level. It's been decreasing week-by-week.
"They noticed that, and they came out tonight with great energy and intensity, and played one of their best games in a long time."
Trent Brantley led the ‘Runners with 22 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. Adrick McKinney bulled his way to 15 points and Takoby Jackson and Travis Smith added 10 each for AC, now 15-12, 9-7 on the season.
Jorge Redmon led Lon Morris with 26 points, and Joel Gierbolini finished with 10 as the Bearcats fell to 14-13, 6-10.
McKinney and Brantley combined for 14 points of a 19-2 run to close out the first half and put the Roadrunners in control. If there were still any doubts about it being AC's night, ‘Runners Travis Smith and Takoby Jackson put them to rest with a pair of crazy three-pointers. Smith heaved a one-hander from the midcourt stripe to beat a shot-clock violation, his shot rattling in for a 13-point AC lead; and Jackson bounced a three-point attempt straight up off the back of the rim, only to see it drop straight down through the nets.
The win moves the Roadrunners to within striking distance of zone-leading San Jacinto, AC's next opponent. The ‘Runners will travel to Pasadena to take on the Ravens at 7:30 p.m.