No one will describe Handley and Oxford’s girls basketball teams as being in midseason form after the Tigers defeated the Yellow Jackets 47-37 Thursday in Roanoke.
Neither team was sharp, the low point coming during a nearly five-minute stretch in the second quarter in which neither team scored a point.
But Handley made the plays when it needed to and got off to a 1-0 start to its season.
And despite the halting flow of the game, Handley showed flashes of the potential that its team possesses.
If the Lady Tigers are going to get where they want to this year point guard Te’Nequa Rhodes and forward Grace Rittenhouse are going to lead them there, especially on offense. And early on the two were in sync for a couple of easy buckets that helped Handley build a 12-7 lead after the first quarter.
Rittenhouse scored eight of those first 12 points, and Rhodes assisted on three made baskets with a series of nifty passes into the post.
But both teams hit a wall offensively in the second quarter. Rhodes started the quarter with a 3-point play, and Oxford answered with a free throw and a two-point bucket moments later to make it a 15-10 game with 5:50 to play in the half. And that’s where the score stood for nearly the remainder of the quarter. Rhodes’s free throw with 1:03 to play was the only other point as Handley took a 16-10 lead into the break.
Handley stretched that lead to as many as 12 points at 39-27 midway through the fourth quarter. But Oxford put together a 9-2 run that cut the lead to five points before Handley hit six free throws in the final minute to put the game away.
Rhodes led the Lady Tigers with a team-best 16 points, while Rittenhouse finished with 10 points and five rebounds.