by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Nothing has come easy for the Streetsboro girls basketball team in recent years.
The Rockets' home game with Garfield Heights Trinity Jan. 19 was no exception.
Unlike a number of their contests this season, the Streetsboro players got a chance to be cheerful regarding their hard work.
They can finally appreciate the final verdict on the scoreboard too.
The Rockets improved to 4-11 on the season after posting a 52-42 victory over Trinity.
The game was nip and tuck the whole way until Streetsboro outscored the Trojans 14-4 in the final eight minutes.
"It was really nice to get a win," Rockets head coach Allison Carey said. "No win has been handed to us. We had to fight the entire game."
Streetsboro mastered something that has been an issue throughout the season.
The Rockets made 13-of-17 free throws. Streetsboro also got sterling defense down the stretch.
Taylor Tuma led the defense by keeping Trinity's top scorer, Claire McCarthy, in check. McCarthy finished with 11 points.
"We really executed the game plan well the entire game," Carey said.
"Taylor wanted to keep McCarthy under double digits. She averages 20 points per game. Taylor brings energy the entire game."
Marra Woods and Allison Targosky each had 12 points to lead the Rockets. Makenzie Dombrowski added 10 points for the Rockets. Trinity's Danielle Stakes led all scorers with 16 points.
"Marra really stepped us and helped us out in the second half," Carey said. "She made all four of her free throws in the fourth quarter."
Streetsboro also posted a commanding 46-16 win in the junior varsity contest.
The host Rockets fell to 2-7 in the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division after losing a convincing 56-32 decision to Ravenna Jan. 16.
The Lady Ravens, thanks to their relentless pressure defense and lightning-quick uptempo offense, overwhelmed Streetsboro, which did not have enough speed to keep up with Ravenna (9-6, 7-2).
The Lady Ravens jumped out to a 13-1 lead and forced 13 turnovers in the opening quarter.
Guard Deja Sanders capped off a near perfect first period for Ravenna with a buzzer-beating half-court shot to give the Lady Ravens a 29-6 advantage. Sanders finished with a game-high 16 points.
Ironically, Ravenna's high-powered offense hit an unexpected lull in the second period.
Perhaps it was because they took their foot off the gas, the Lady Ravens had trouble taking care of the ball.
Ravenna committed 12 turnovers and didn't score its first field goal until four minutes into the period.
Still, despite playing some stellar defense of their own, the Rockets didn't have much luck trimming their deficit.
Streetsboro struggled to make shots and even though they drew plenty of contact, the Rockets struggled to make their free throws.
"They're a quick team," Carey said of the Ravens. "Their three starting guards have a lot of speed."
The fastest player of that trio is point guard Moe Moe Smith.
The standout senior scored 10 points, dished out several assists and raised havoc throughout the night with her tireless defense.
Ravenna's other standout guard is Jalynn Starks, who finished with seven points.
The Lady Ravens laid off their pressure in the second half and had a much more difficult time scoring.
Nevertheless, the outcome had long been decided.
That didn't mean the Rockets threw the towel, though. They continued to play strong defense and made Ravenna work on every possession. Streetsboro just couldn't make shots and had a difficult time keeping the more athletic Lady Ravens off the glass.
Ravenna had a 34-22 edge on the boards.
Both teams struggled from the foul line.
The Lady Ravens made 4-of-12, while Streetsboro canned just 6-of-19. The two teams also combined for 51 turnovers.
Targosky and guard Mikaela Dombrowski led the Rockets with nine and eight points, respectively.
"In the second half, we wanted to do three things," Carey said. "We wanted to have more energy on defense. We wanted to drive more and get more easy scoring opportunities and we wanted to box out and rebound better.
"I thought we did that in the second half."
Streetsboro also lost a 39-27 decision in the junior varsity contest. Rachel Murphy led the Rockets with nine points.
Streetsboro is scheduled to visit Kent Roosevelt Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m.