Despite being sick and sore, Ashley Asouzu saved her best for last in Brewbaker Tech’s 55-45 victory over St. James on Tuesday night.
Asouzu, who coughed so much from bronchitis that she strained a muscle in her throat, led the No. 7 Rams (13-1, 5-0 Class 4A, Area 4) with 24 points, nine rebounds and five steals.
She had trouble getting started, facing double teams every time she touched the ball, but finally exploded for 16 points in the final quarter.
“It was frustrating, but I just had to calm down and be patient,” Asouzu said. “The first quarter we were all around the place. We didn’t know where to go. But once coach got us in the locker room, she told us to slow down, and we did.”
In the second half, Rams coach Cynthia Thompson moved Asouzu to the perimeter to give her some breathing room. Brew Tech outscored the Trojans 29-11 in the fourth. Most of the points came in transition from steals.
Shelby Williams added 16 points and nine steals for the Rams.
“I told my girls, ‘You either want it or you don’t. Everything we’ve taught you to this point, you already know,'” Thompson said. “I told (Asouzu), ‘They’re going to double you. You’re going to have to get open.’ If she doesn’t touch the ball, we’re in trouble.”
The result was painfully familiar to St. James (15-4, 4-2 Class 4A, Area 4), who fell 54-45 to Brew Tech on Jan. 8. Kelly Joyner led the Trojans with 23 points and nine rebounds.
“I think we played a more complete game than our first game,” St. James coach Katie Barton said. “In the half court, I couldn’t be more proud of my girls, the way we played defense. In the fourth quarter, they hurt us on the boards, and they hurt us in transition off our turnovers. It’s just a matter of learning to finish.”
Brew Tech boys 76, St. James 65
The Rams’ trio of guards helped put the Trojans behind early and keep them there.
Khalil Carter led Brew Tech with 23 points, Steven Rogers scored 21 points and Lorenzo Moore added 19 points to keep the No. 3 Rams undefeated in area play.
C.J. Duncan led St. James with 20 points, and he also racked up five assists, grabbed four rebounds and blocked three shots.
St. James was much more competitive than in its first meeting with Brew Tech, a 77-49 defeat. The Trojans cut the Rams’ lead to 65-58 with three minutes to go, but Brew Tech pulled away.
St. James (6-9, 2-4) plays BTW Magnet on Friday, while and the Rams (13-4, 5-0) play BTW Magnet on Thursday at G.W. Carver.