by Jim Manion | Correspondent
Rootstown -- Streetsboro head girls basketball coach Allison Carey is a firm believer that rebounding wins games.
Her team proved that fact Dec. 4 at Rootstown as Portage Trail Conference County Division play opened on the Rovers court.
The Rockets dominated the glass with a 52-29 margin and pulled out a 56-51 win over Rootstown, which battled back in the fourth quarter after digging a hole when the Rovers didn't score for six minutes. Streetsboro also lost a 45-38 decision to County Division rival Southeast Dec. 7 in Ravenna.
Allison Targosky set the pace for the (2-3, 1-1) with 18 points and 12 rebounds, leading a trio of double-doubles against Rootstown.
Marra Woods scored 14 points, while pulling down 15 rebounds and Shania Williams hit for 13 points and 10 rebounds.
It seemed like every bounce went Streetsboro's way and every boxout was by a blue uniform.
"Our goal is to rebound and get in your face defensively," said Carey. "If we control the boards, we are going to win games and we preach it and teach it. Our goal is to win the division and we told the girls before the game that our first two games were like preseason.
Rootstown is a very respectable opponent and this was a huge staple for us. It's a tough road ahead, but it is really nice to get that first one under our belts."
The Rockets closed out the first quarter with an 8-2 run to turn an 8-7 advantage into a 16-9 first quarter score.
Streetsboro continued its pace to open the second quarter with a 10-3 run and at the three-minute mark, the Rockets had a convincing 28-14 advantage. The rebounding edge in the first half was 28-14.
Casey Miracle scored the first nine points for the Rovers inside.
The 5-foot-6 post player tallied 12 of the 16 first-half points and six of the 14 rebounds. Targosky led the Rockets in the first half with nine points and seven rebounds.
Rootstown (2-1, 0-1) opened the second half by scoring five straight points to cut the halftime 13-point deficit (29-16) to only eight points at the 6:43 mark.
However, the Rovers went into a deep freeze and did not score a point for the next six minutes.
By the time Alex Cramer hit a three-pointer with only 40 seconds remaining in the quarter, Streetsboro had scored 10 consecutive points and held a 41-26 margin after three.
Rootstown outscored the Rockets 25-15 in the final eight minutes, cutting the deficit to only five points with two minutes remaining in the game.
"I think we play a lot better when we are free and easy," said Rovers head coach Andy Gopp. "I told the team at halftime to relax and box out because we knew we were losing it on the boards. I wish we had another minute on that clock, but I am proud of our kids. They never quit and that's a good team."
Monique Jackson hit a three with only 28 seconds on the clock to cut the score to 53-49, but Mackenzie Dombrowski countered for Streetsboro with a pair of free throws. Brianna Ryan scored on a putback with less than 10 seconds again to cut the lead to only four (55-51), but Williams notched a foul shot with 8.8 on the clock.
Miracle led Rootstown with 18 points and 10 rebounds while Alex Cramer hit for 15 with a trio of three-pointers. Cayanne Breznak pulled down 10 rebounds for Rootstown and scored four points.
The Rockets also earned a 22-19 win in the junior varsity contest. Justina McDonald led Streetsboro with eight points.
Williams led the Rockets with 12 points and Makenzie Dombrowski and Rachel Murphy added 10 and eight points, respectively, for Streetsboro against the Pirates.
The Rockets scored just two points in the first quarter and were down 16-10 at halftime. Streetsboro tied the game at 26 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Pirates (4-0, 2-0) took control from there.
Southeast's Riley Norquest led all scorers with 17 points. The Pirates also earned a 37-27 win in the JV contest.
Streetsboro is scheduled to host County Division foe Mogadore Dec. 11 before heading to Hudson to play Western Reserve Academy Dec. 12. Both varsity contests are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.
Streetsboro is set to entertain County Division rival Woodridge Dec. 14 at 2:30 p.m.