A quick start by Dalton put the Rome Lady Wolves on their heels Saturday night at Rome High, but Rome responded with tenacious defense and outstanding shooting to bury their region rivals 74-41.
Dalton jumped to an early lead in the first quarter and maintained it until the waning moments before Rome’s Anniayh Williams and Ja’viyah Gooch each buried a three pointer to stake Rome to its first lead of the night at 18-15 to end the first quarter.
After allowing the 15-point outburst from Dalton’s offense in the opening quarter, the Wolves’ defense tightened up and made the going super rough for the Catamounts over the next two quarters as the Wolves only allowed six points in the second and five points in the third quarter.
“We try to play with a full court pressure, man-to-man defense to kind of wear teams down, but it makes it easy when you shoot the ball the way we shot the ball tonight,” Rome High coach Thomas McAboy said after the game.
While their defense stymied the Catamounts’ scoring attack, Rome’s offense took off. Dalton managed to cut Rome’s lead to 25-19 with 4:02 left in the second quarter but any hope of the Catamounts mounting a serious comeback faltered quickly as Rome outscored Dalton 15-2 over the rest of the first half, taking a 41-20 lead into halftime.
Highlights form the Wolves’ 15-2 run included two three pointers from Pinky Nation and two strong baskets from Breana Griffin.
Dalton again cut into Rome’s lead in the third quarter, slicing the lead to 40-24 before Rome again poured in the points, finishing the third quarter with an impressive 14-2 run.
Three pointers proved to be the pivotal weapon in this run with Nation knocking down two more long-range shots as well as Treneisha Adams and Griffin sinking one each. Allison Loveman sank a basket as well in the run.
“We shot the ball unbelievably well. Even the last two girls off the bench hit shots tonight,” McAboy said. “They mixed their defenses up a lot. We just had to figure out how to move the ball and find our shooters with open shots.”
The Lady Wolves defense proved tough during this stretch forcing three consecutive turnovers with a relentless half-court press leaving Dalton harried and haggard, as Rome carried a 54-26 lead into the final quarter.
Dalton’s offense rebounded in the final stanza, but Rome didn’t let the Catamounts do too much damage as the Wolves’ offense also kept hitting key shots, including six more three pointers on the way to the 74-41 win.
Nation led all scorers with 17 points. Adams added 10 with Griffin pitching in 9, Williams tallying eight and Loveman and Taleyiah Chatman each netting seven.
The win moves Rome’s overall record to 3-3 and evens their Region 5-6A record to 1-1 on the early season. The Wolves face region foe Douglas County on the road on Tuesday before opening play in the 7 Hills Rotary Christmas Tournament.