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Stingy defense vaults Lady Rebels past Rose Hill

December 13, 2018 GMT

ASHLAND, Ky. — The Tolsia Lady Rebels got a strong start to the year with a season opening win over Rose Hill Christian School, 65-28 on Dec. 4. The Rebel’s revealed a new-look press defense and ran the floor hard in the win, forcing the Royals into 36 turnovers on the night.

Strong defense from the Rebels limited Rose Hill to four made field goals in the game but thrived at the free throw line when Tolsia logged 16 team fouls in as many minutes of the first half.

“I told them at halftime the smarter team was in the white,” Tolsia Head Coach Ric Morrone said of Rose Hill, who made 14 free throws in the first half compared to just three made field goals otherwise. “They did what they had to do and got to take most of their shots without anybody guarding them. There were several times where we ran a nice trap and bailed them out with a silly reach in.”

It all culminated to a convincing win over the Royals, and a promising start to the season. Morrone said there is still vast room for improvement.

“We were forcing turnovers but then we were fouling too much so we had to pull back a little but I thought we were them down a little bit,” Morrone said. “We knew it was going to be rocky tonight — and it was — but i was proud of the way they finished the game. There was a lot of team work but we’ve still got some work to do.”

Senior Sara Jude finished with 21 points, five assists, and seven rebounds with only a single turnover in the win over Rose Hill. Jude also had a block and three steals. Jude is one of the Lady Rebels only returning players with varsity level experience and Morrone said the team will rely on breakout performances from her throughout the year calling her a “great all-around player.”

The Lady Rebels moved on from the win and welcomed the Cameron Lady Dragons and Grace Christian School into Rebel Arena for the BJM/Keyplayer Shootout over the weekend, where Tolsia defeated both opponents with overtime thrillers in consecutive days.

Jude continued to be a massive scoring threat for the Lady Rebels, putting up 19 in Friday’s two-point win over Grace Christian, and 18 in Saturday’s 56-52 victory that gave Tolsia the tournament championship over Cameron, keeping their record unblemished through three games.