Laurens downs Lady Rockets to spoil gritty comeback effort

Roxbury’s Rachel Meckes looks to pass to a teammate: by Dick SanfordRoxbury’s Rachel Meckes looks to pass to a teammate: by Dick Sanford
Story and photos by Dick Sanford
Laurens 31 - Roxbury 29
It isn’t every day that the Roxbury Lady Rockets’ basketball team draws a comparison to the Minnesota Vikings’ football club but both teams suffered similar fates Monday when each fell badly behind in the first half, played brilliantly in the second half to tie the score at the buzzer and then lost in overtime.
While the Vikings played the Chicago Bears in front of a sold-out crowd at Soldiers’ Field in Chicago, and a Monday night TV audience of millions, the Lady Rockets’ drama played out against the Laurens Lady Leopards in a late-afternoon game in front of a much, much smaller audience in the opening round of the Stamford Central School Girls’ Annual Booster Club Tournament.
The Lady Rockets’ game looked like it might be an early blow out as the Leopards raced to a 14-4 first-quarter lead but the Rockets’ defense stiffened in the second quarter and allowed the Leopards only one three-point hoop while putting up six points of their own to narrow the score to 17-10 at the half.
Roxbury continued to eat into the Leopards’ lead in the third quarter, out scoring Laurens 9-4 in that frame, as Roxbury’s Kennedy Faraci took control of the offense and scored six points to narrow Laurens’ lead to 21-19 at the end of the third period.
Roxbury won the fourth quarter, 7-5, and a trip into overtime, when Jenna Johnston stepped to the foul line with just seconds left on the clock and sank a pair of free throws to tie the score at 26 all.
Roxbury had its chances on overtime but struggled to bring the ball up court against Laurens’ press. Laurens’ game-long rebound domination and several missed foul shots by the Rockets proved to be the difference. Laurens outscored the Rockets in overtime, 5-3, and won 31-29.
Kennedy Faraci led the Rockets with 11 points. Rachael Meckes had six points and Jenna Johnston, Raven Sprague and Kaitlin Brew scored four each.
Shelby Fraser led the Leopards with 10 and Jenna Robbins had eight for the winners.
The Lady Rockets and the Lady Stamford Indians met last evening in the tournament’s consolation game, which began at 5:30, too late to report results for this week’s newspaper.
Milford, who beat Stamford 47-22, in the other opening round game Monday, met Laurens in the championship game yesterday afternoon.