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Girls basketball: First-half run carries East Ridge

A 16-2 run to end the first half gave fourth-seeded East Ridge all the separation it needed in a 66-49 win over fifth-seeded Rosemount in the first round of the Section 3AAAA tournament last Wednesday.

The Irish scored just 16 points in the first half. They came back to put up 33 after the break, but still finished the night shooting just 34 percent from the floor.

“We came out kind of flat and sluggish and could never find a rhythm on either end of the court,” Rosemount coach Chris Orr said. “We were getting great looks, just nothing would fall. The second half we came out with great energy and a sense of urgency we needed to have for the first 18 minutes.”

The Irish crept back within eight a couple of times in the second half, but couldn’t get any closer. They closed out the season with a record of 13-14, a seven-win improvement from the previous year and the program’s most wins since the 2006-07 season.

“The season didn't end the way we had envisioned it. However, the team and program came a long way this year and made some big strides,” Orr said. “We had the most conference and overall wins since 2007 for girls basketball and also if you look at the conference from last year to this year we jumped from two conference wins to eight.”

Senior Hannah Grim led the Irish with 23 points in her final game. She also grabbed five rebounds and five steals. Grim, who will continue playing at Marquette, finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,793 points.

Seniors Kaylie Hanson, Kalley McMenomy and Nicole Ruhl also suited up for the final time.

“They continued to help us lay the foundation for our program to experience success year in and year out. They all played big roles on our team and each of their roles were different which means we have some big holes to fill next year,” Orr said. “These four were memorable role models for everyone both on and off the court. Along with their on the court success they're also successful in the classroom with an average GPA of 3.7 between the four of them and will be successful in whichever path they choose in life.”

Ellie Vraa joined Grim in double figures last Wednesday, scoring 12 points. Sam Caruth added a pair of three-pointers for six points.

“We had a lot of girls get valuable experience this year on the 10th, JV and varsity team and are very excited about the future of our program and the direction we are going,” Orr said. “We know it's not going to be easy and handed to us, but the girls now got a taste of success and really seem hungrier than ever for more.”