Rocky River, Ohio- The girls final of the Rocky River Holiday Classic was a matchup between the 6-3 Laurel Gators and the 7-2 Rocky River Pirates. The Laurel Gators were coming off a 60-18 victory against Padua in day 1 of the tournament. Rocky river was coming off a 58-50 victory vs North Ridgeville to reach the finals.
Laurel came out with a vengeance opening the game on an 11-0 run coupled with suffocating defense. Saniyah Hall had 9 with 2 steals for the Laurel Gators. River came back with a 3 from Emmy Convery to make it 15-6. Laurel ended the quarter strong with help from a couple 3’s to make it 20-8.
The Pirates looked a little flat coming out in the 2nd quarter as Laurel extended the lead to 24-8. Rocky River saw an opportunity after a few turnovers and missed 3 pointers from Laurel, and they took advantage. Annika Mocho hit a big 3 to cut the deficit to 28-16.
That three and solid man to man defense quickly changed momentum in the Pirates favor. River went on a 5-0 run to end the half capped off by a big 3 by Natalie Swallow with 10 seconds left in the half to head into halftime down only 7 at 28-21 which felt like a win for River.
Saniyah Hall the talented Laurel freshman did not disappoint as she had 10 points and 4 steals to be the high Gator in the half. For Rocky River Annika Mocho sparked the Pirates with 12 first half points including two big 3 pointers.
Rocky River did not help themselves out to start the 3rd as they came out of halftime with three quick turnovers. Saniyah Hall had a steal and two quick layups to make it 32-21 Laurel before a timeout.
Out of the timeout Laurel began pounding the paint causing River to foul twice. This all led to a 9-0 run for Laurel as they began attacking Rocky River relentlessly led by Saniyah Hall adding 6 more 3rd quarter points causing the Pirates to use a full timeout.
Natalie Swallow had 5 quick points for River out of the timeout, but Mari Bickley came alive and added 8 points of her own. Laurel got their hands in every passing lane to end the half strong with a 46-27 lead.
The 4th quarter began with each team trading baskets to make the score 51-31 before River took a full timeout with 5:12 left in the game. River came out of the timeout with a 5-2 run including a big 3 by Emma Convery to make the score 53-36 before Laurel wanted to talk about the defensive effort. The Laurel fans began cheering for Saniyah Hall to score as they realized the talented freshman was approaching 30 points. She ended up finishing with 31 points on 14/18 shooting and 5 steals. Laurel closed this one out strong behind the solid effort from Hall to win 64-38.
Ava Patti made the all tournament team for Rocky River as well as Mari Bickley for Laurel. Saniyah Hall was named the tournament MVP after her 31 point effort in this finale.
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