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Richard's Kelly Henderson looks for holes on the Ann Arbor Richard defense Thursday night. Henderson scored 11 of her 13 points in the first half of Richard's 51-39 victory. Photo by Randy Castro

Basketball - Girls

GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Pioneers find their groove, race past Ann Arbor GR (PHOTO)

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After a pedestrian start, the Riverview Gabriel Richard girls’ basketball found its stride late into the second quarter and on into the second half Thursday night.

The same cannot be said for their Gabriel Richard counterparts from Ann Arbor.

The Pioneers (3-4) coasted to a 51-39 victory over the Fighting Irish behind a game-high 24 points from junior guard Casey Lyons.

“I'm very fortunate to have a kid who's long and athletic and can run,” Riverview Gabriel Richard coach Laura Guzman said of Lyons, who had 18 second-half points. “Having her up top, she can leak out and score that way for us.”

Kelly Henderson added 13 points, 11 of which came in the first half, in the victory.

Lyons' late surge helped extend a five-point Pioneer lead at the half into a double-digit lead with 3:32 to play in the third quarter. RGR was able to get out in transition on several occasions in the second half, thanks in large part to a defensive switch at the break.

“They run the same defense that we do, so we tried to put in something different,” Guzman said. “It led us to capitalizing on some confusion. We were able to get out and run and get up layups.”

Though the Pioneers played with a double-digit lead through much of the second half, the Fighting Irish cut the lead to 35-30 with just over six minutes to play. An ensuing 7-0 Pioneer run in just over a minute all but salted the game away.

“Basketball's a game of runs; (we) just kept pushing and fighting back,” Guzman said. “We got a couple quick baskets. That kind of helped and the lead went back up.”

Emily Hogan paced the Fighting Irish (4-4) with 18 points in the loss.

Fighting Irish coach Matt Carroll didn't mince words about his thoughts on his team's performance after the game.

“We're a better team than them. We have more talent, we have more seniors and I'm not going to make any excuses; we just did not play with the amount of passion, effort, love, heart for each other, our school and this program that we needed to,” he said. “Every type of possible hustle category you could possibly think of, we got beat.”

Carroll looked to his bench for a spark, utilizing several different lineup combinations in effort to get the offense rolling. Though his team had the deficit down to five early in the fourth quarter, he said he felt his team never had momentum.

“Even though we got it to (five), it really never felt like we got close,” he said. “All (Riverview) had to do was try a little harder. I as a coach was very disappointed with our kids.”

The Irish return to action on Jan. 14 against Bloomfield Hills Marian.

Last Updated: 1/11/2014 1:50:21 AM EST