RICHMOND HEIGHTS–Last season, Orange won just won game as a young Lions squad learned how to compete at the varsity level. That experience already paid dividends as the Lions opened the 2021-2022 season with a 31-26 come from behind victory at Richmond Heights on Friday.
“We have to give props to Richmond Heights,” said Orange freshman guard Rachel Oberster. “They were extremely aggressive, and at the end of the day, we were just able to get some clutch shots.”
Early on, it was the host Spartans forcing turnovers and reading Orange’s passing lanes as they built a 6-4 first-quarter lead.
Orange’s DaMarionna Branch opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer and then the Lions went on a 4-0 run to even up the score at halftime, 14-14.
Richmond Heights held a slim 20-18 lead after three quarters but the Lions rallied for the lead in the fourth quarter and held on to win the game.
With the score tied 20-20 with 6:26 remaining, Orange used a 5-0 run to pull away from the Spartans.
Richmond Heights pulled to within two points with 40 seconds remaining but Branch hit a pair of clutch free throws to close out the scoring.
“This win is huge,” Oberster said. “It motivates us and keeps us going. Of course, there are things we need to work on as a unit, but overall we played a good game.”
Branch and Oberster both scored seven points to lead the Lions. Molly Nolan, Nikayla Henderson, and Jane Abounader each scored four points, while Alayeh Washington contributed with three, and Olivia Jackson finished with two.
Darden and Cherish Maxwell led Richmond Heights with a game-high 10 points. Mya Johnson added four and Chastity Maxwell finished with three.
The Lions (1-0) host Independence on Tuesday. Richmond Heights (0-1) hosts Brooklyn on Nov. 30.