Conyers Scores 20 as Taconic Girls Knock Off West Springfield
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Stifling defense was a constant for the Taconic girls basketball team on Friday afternoon against West Springfield.
In the second half, it had an offense to match.
Ciany Conyers scored 20 points, Faith Cross had 11 rebounds, and Taconic scored 23 points off turnovers a 52-29 win over the Terriers at the Spalding HoopHall Classic at Springfield College.
Taconic shot 36 percent in the first half, 43 percent in the second half and 50 percent (7-for-14) in the fourth quarter as it improved to 8-0.
"I think it was nerves," player of the game Taea Bramer said of the sluggish start at the offensive end. "We have some new girls who haven't really played together as a lineup before. So once we got confident, we were shooting better."
Bramer finished with eight points, seven rebounds, six assists and six of Taconic's 23 steals.
Ahliya Phillips scored 14 points -- 12 in the second half alone.
Taconic coach Matt Mickle said one of the reasons Taconic's offense was not firing on all cyllinders in a 21-14 first half was that his team was not able to generate second half points.
"I thought we struggled in the first half," he said. "We just were having a tough time putting it in the hoop. I thought we took a few good shots, but some of them were good shots. They just weren't going in.
"We weren't getting any second chances either. We were kind of shooting it and hoping it was going in instead of crashing the boards and getting any second chances off offensive rebounds."
Taconic forced 30 turnovers while turning it over just 18 times.
Those kind of numbers are nothing new for a team that is yet to allow an opponent 50 points this winter.
"I think as long as we play aggressive and come out with a lot of intensity on defense, we're always pretty good at moving around and getting steals off that as long as we work hard," Conyers said.
In addition to the 30 turnovers, West Side shot just 19 percent from the floor.
Taconic set the tone defensively in the first couple of minutes, forcing West Side turnovers on its first five possessions and taking a 5-0 lead on a pair of buckets by Kendra Buda.
The Terriers recovered and led by two near the end of the first quarter. But Faith Cross was fouled in the post and made one of her free throws, and Taea Bramer drove the lane to end the quarter with Taconic ahead, 12-11.
The Taconic defense was even tougher in the second quarter, holding West Springfield to just three points.
Conyers, meanwhile, knocked down a 3-pointer and scored seven points in a 9-3 Taconic run to the end of the half.
She set up Ahlyiah Phillips in transition to give their team a 21-14 lead in the locker room.
It was an eight-point lead with 2:04 left in the third quarter, but Taconic went on an 18-0 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters to open up a 46-20 lead on a Conyers putback midway through the fourth.
Taconic takes its perfect record to Sheffield on Monday to take on Mount Everett.
Mickle said that despite its track record this season, his team has some work to do. But Friday was one of the good days.
"This has been an awesome atmosphere," he said. "It's been a great day for us. We went to the Hall of Fame. This whole day has been amazing. You kind of feel like you're a big-time team when you come here.
"It's nice beating West Springfield. They're a good Division 1 team. I do think we still have a lot of things we can get better at. Hopefully, those things will improve. We talk about them constantly. Hopefully, we just keep things rolling.
"One game at a time, as they say."