The Rock girls fall to powerhouse Potter's House


Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 12:07 a.m.

If anyone in attendance at The Rock on Tuesday night wondered what makes Potter's House Christian Academy's girls basketball team so good, they didn't after the first minute.

Sixty seconds into the contest, the nation's No. 9 team from Jacksonville had forced four turnovers and opened a 9-0 lead.

The visiting Lions dominated the home Lions from start to finish, getting four players in double figures for a 81-46 win, extending the Potter's House winning streak to 18 games on the season.

Coach Tony Bannister's daughter, junior Antoinette Bannister, and senior Brittany Roundtree, both North Carolina commitments, had 18 and 17 points, respectively, to lead Potter's House. Senior Paulina Zaveckaite had a team-high 15 points for The Rock. Teammates Kornelija Valiuskyte and Paulina Zaveckaite each added 10.

“That's what Potter's House does - play a great transition game caused by an aggressive defense that causes a lot of turnovers,” said The Rock coach Fabian Chapov. “They are an outstanding team. I think they showed why they are ranked among the best in the country.

“But I am proud of my girls. They played with a lot of effort. That is something I tell them — don't worry about the score, just keep playing hard and they did.”

So intense was the Potter's House full-court defense, The Rock had a tough time just getting over the half-court early. Three straight turnovers turned into six easy points by the visiting Lions to cap the first period for a 29-12 lead.

“That's what I really stressed to them coming in, to get after them from the start,” said coach Bannister. “We worked really hard on intensive, full-court defense in practice, and the girls did a terrific job of it tonight. Our press creates a lot of our offense.”

A nice feed from UF signee Viktorija Dimaite to Jovana Mandic for a layup cut the margin to 17 (47-30), and The Rock trailed at the half, 53-35.

The host Lions were held to just five points in the third as Potter's House stretched its lead to 30 (70-40) heading into the final period.

The Rock (12-7) played without starting guard Anne Pedersen, who has been out several games with an injury.

“That hurt us, not having Anne in the lineup,” Chapov said. “That's what you need against a team like Potter's House, good guard play.”

Pittsburgh signee Loliya Briggs had 16 points, and South Florida signee Shalethia Stringield had 14 for Potter's House. Among those in attendance Tuesday night was UF women's coach Amanda Butler.

For the visiting Lions (24-1), whose only loss this season came on Nov. 27 against Memphis Overton (56-53), the goal is clear - to finish the season ranked No. 1 in the country.

“That loss has really motivated the girls,” Bannister said. “I'm not making excuses, but two of my starters, including my daughter, were sick and didn't play that game. But the girls are playing with more purpose now, and I really believe if we can continue to play like we did tonight, we have a chance to finish No. 1 in the nation.”

Contact Larry Savage at (352) 374-5050 or larry.savage@gvillesun.com.

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