Easy does it

No. 7 Lady Raiders stay hot with blowout win over Azle

Andy Newberry
Patrick Johnston/Times Record News 
 Rider's Erin Henderson (left) puts in a shot after a rebound was tipped to her by Kendall Chamberlain (15) against Azle Tuesday evening at Rider.

Patrick Johnston/Times Record News Rider's Erin Henderson (left) puts in a shot after a rebound was tipped to her by Kendall Chamberlain (15) against Azle Tuesday evening at Rider.

Patrick Johnston/Times Record News
Rider's Taliyah Brooks (23) puts in a layup while being fouled by Azle's Maci Wilbanks on Tuesday evening at Rider. Brooks scored 23 points in leading the Lady Raiders to a 61-22 rout that improved Rider's record to 21-3.

Patrick Johnston/Times Record News Rider's Taliyah Brooks (23) puts in a layup while being fouled by Azle's Maci Wilbanks on Tuesday evening at Rider. Brooks scored 23 points in leading the Lady Raiders to a 61-22 rout that improved Rider's record to 21-3.

Patrick Johnston/Times Record News 
 Rider's Erin Henderson (left) puts in a shot after a rebound was tipped to her by Kendall Chamberlain (15) against Azle Tuesday evening at Rider.

Patrick Johnston/Times Record News Rider's Erin Henderson (left) puts in a shot after a rebound was tipped to her by Kendall Chamberlain (15) against Azle Tuesday evening at Rider.

Patrick Johnston/Times Record News 
 Rider's Abreanna Harrison (45) is fouled by Azle's Katelynn Crow on Tuesday evening at Rider.

Patrick Johnston/Times Record News Rider's Abreanna Harrison (45) is fouled by Azle's Katelynn Crow on Tuesday evening at Rider.

The Rider girls remained perfect in District 5-4A, breaking Azle's will before halftime in a 61-22 rout at Raider Fieldhouse.

But the Lady Raiders are still looking for ways to improve despite the 21-3 record and first-place standing in 5-4A.

Senior guard Taliyah Brooks sparked the rout with a game-high 23 points to go with six rebounds, three steals and two assists.

She loves her team; one that began the season unranked but has certainly earned a lot of recognition since then as well as a No. 7 ranking in Class 4A.

"We're moving up in the basketball world," Brooks said. "I'm really excited about us moving on and into the playoffs.

"We all get along really well, and we all want to win. We mesh really good, and I think you need that to go far."

Between now and then the Lady Raiders hope to sharpen a few of their skills and continue to improve on the offensive end. They've had regular-season success before, winning 24 and 27 games the past two seasons. But this group is staying focused in search of playoff success.

"He (coach Ramsey Ghazal) keeps us working on the little things, like free throws, that can cost you in a close game," Brooks said. "Our 3-point shooting (percentage) has gone way down. We practice it a lot, but sometimes we take really hard shots instead of smart shots."

With her ability to make brilliant drives and shots from three or four feet beyond the 3-point arc she realizes at times "that's 99 percent me," she added with a smile.

Ghazal has tried to keep the big picture in mind and work on the process of getting better and not just the final numbers on the scoreboard. With the hustle, depth and teamwork of the Lady Raiders there aren't many complaints on the defensive end.

They overwhelmed Azle, forcing 11 turnovers in the second quarter and 33 for the game. The Lady Hornets decided instead of competing in the third quarter they would work on a five-player stall on the sideline in front of their bench.

The result was that a 28-10 Rider lead at the half grew to 53-14 after three quarters.

That was a first, but the Lady Raiders are used to seeing something different from their district competition.

"People are ambushing our post, and we have to do a better job of moving the ball out of there," Ghazal said. "To me, we're missing about 15-20 points we probably should add on. Missing a few shots or taking tough 3's instead of one more pass. And we haven't shot the ball that well since the Christmas break.

"At the Caprock tournament, we played some teams that would play normal with a man or a 2-3 zone, but in district we're seeing a lot of junk defenses. We have to be able to move it around and find a rhythm."

Another positive has been a return to health for Erin Henderson, who had eight points and two assists Tuesday. Rider missed all 11 of its 3-point tries with Henderson having the only success by drawing a 3-shot foul and making two.

Ashley Reid came off the Rider bench for 11 points, three steals and two assists and Abreanna Harrison scored six.

Katelyn Crow led Azle, 1-5 in 5-4A, with 10 points, six rebounds and two blocks.

Rider closes the first half of district Friday night at Denton Guyer (15-6, 5-1).

Rider 61, Azle 22

AZLE (1-5) — Crow 10, Yzaguirre 6, Wilbanks 2, Foster 2, Berger 2. Totals 7-33 8-14 22.

RIDER (21-3, 3-0) — Taliyah Brooks 23, Ashley Reid 11, Henderson 8, Harrison 6, Mercedes Brooks 5, Catletti 3, Caswell 2, Shaver 2, Beaver 1. Totals 23-54 15-23 61.

Azle 00 00 00 00 — 00

Rider 00 00 00 00 — 00

3-Point Goals — Azle 0-10; Rider 0-11.

REBOUNDS — Azle 28 (Crow 6); Rider 38 (Beaver 6, Chamberlain 6, T. Brooks 6)

ASSISTS — Azle 6 (Fulfer 3); Rider 10 (Reid 2, Henderson 2, T. Brooks 2, Shaver 2)

JV — Rider (3-3) 41, Azle 35; R-Brittany Joshua 12, Rachel Richie 11; A-Read 13.

Freshman — Rider 42, Azle 25; R-Leija 18, Harvey 12.

© 2013 Times Record News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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