SIDNEY — Russia’s girls basketball team is hoping it has learned all the lessons it needs for the rest of the season after a tough three-week slate in which it lost five games to some of the area’s best teams.
The squad hasn’t shown much need for teaching over the last week.
The Raiders earned their third consecutive victory on Thursday by beating a rusty Fairlawn squad 56-27 in a Shelby County Athletic League contest. Russia (8-6, 5-4 SCAL) built a 10-point lead by the end of the first quarter and dominated the rest of the way.
“It’s paying off,” Russia coach Andy Timmerman said of the squad’s grueling streak, which included state-ranked Minster, Tri-Village and Fort Loramie. “The girls have practiced really, really well through the last three or four weeks. It’s finally paying off with us getting wins and having good performances in games.”
It was just the third game for Fairlawn since Dec. 7. The program had two separate COVID-19 shutdowns that stretched over a month’s time. Between Dec. 7 and a win over Lehman Catholic on Tuesday, the Jets’ only game was a 31-point loss at Botkins on Dec. 19.
“We had one practice Monday, played Lehman Tuesday, one practice Wednesday, came in here and played a very good Russia team tonight. We’re out of shape, bottom line,” Fairlawn coach Gavin Cathcart said. “Everybody can see that we’re out of shape.
“We play five or six girls on varsity and we’re tired. We played really good on Tuesday at Lehman but tonight, not so much. We were tired in the first quarter. It’s tough.”
Junior forward Ella Hoehne scored eight points in the first quarter to help Russia amass a 14-4 lead. Hoehne and Reese Goubeaux each scored six in the second to help lead an 18-7 advantage that pushed the lead to 32-11 by halftime.
The Raiders finished with an 11-8 scoring edge in the third and 13-8 advantage in the fourth.
“I thought our effort was really good,” Timmerman said. “Ella had a heck of a night offensively, so tip your hat to her for a good game. Kendall (Monnin) set the tone defensively like she does most of the time.
Hoehne led the squad with 20 points while Goubeaux scored nine and Monnin, a guard, added seven.
Hoehne’s strong scoring and rebounding was especially welcome for Russia since the squad was without sophomore forward Kate Sherman on Thursday. The team was also without Cece Borchers and Katelyn Monnin.
“Other girls stepped up tonight and didn’t try to do too much, which is what I wanted,” Timmerman said. “Girls stepped up and accepted new roles. They did what they needed to and didn’t try to do too much.”
Junior guard Lonna Heath led the Jets (2-6, 0-5) with 10 points in part thanks to hitting 6-of-6 free-throw attempts. Lexi Groves added six points.
The Jets have a busy schedule ahead as they try to make up all their postponed games. They have 14 games scheduled before Feb. 11, including an SCAL contest on Saturday at Anna.
“We’re going to be doing a lot of running in practice to get back in shape,” Cathcart said. “We’re you’re in quarantine, you’re just sitting at home. You’re not running around.
“We’ve got a lot of winnable games left. The County is the best it’s been since I’ve been here, so our nonleague games are kind of what we’re banking on to get some wins.”
Russia is scheduled to host Marion Local on Saturday.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.