Bay’s Audrey Hyland leaves several Parma defenders in her wake Dec. 4 at home. The Rockets beat the Redmen 48-42 in their GLC opener.

At times during the Bay Rockets’ girls basketball Great Lakes Conference opener last Wednesday against visiting Parma, the rim appeared to have a lid on it.

The Rockets missed attempts from all angles and distances, shooting 29% from the field (3-for-21 from three). But thanks to a stout defense that forced 22 Redmen turnovers — including 18 steals — and 34-19 rebound advantage, Bay hung on for a 48-42 victory, its third in a row.

“We were frustrated,” Rockets coach John Curran said of the shooting trouble. “If we’re going to win games in our conference, we’re going to need to be able to shoot our threes better than that. If some of our good shooters miss three or four or five, then they’re reluctant to take six, seven and eight.”

Senior Haley Andrejcak led Bay (3-1, 1-0 GLC) with 29 points, six rebounds and six steals, and set the tone for her team. She turned three of those steals into easy layups that helped build a lead after the second quarter.

Andrejcak, who didn’t score in the team’s first two games, had 10 fourth-quarter points including four free throws in the final 39 seconds, which put the game away after the Redmen (1-2, 0-1 GLC) made a small run late to pull within 44-41.

“I think tonight was one of those nights where I was just kind of on,” Andrejcak said. “My teammates have a good team chemistry to know that if a shooter’s on, we get the ball to them. And I think my teammates did really well with getting me the ball when I was open.”

Parma led 11-10 after the first quarter, never trailed by more than six points and kept it close as Bay continued to miss shots. The Redmen were down 23-20 at halftime and entered the fourth down 35-29. Freshman Mahogany Cottingham led the team with 20 points, four rebounds and four steals before fouling out with 39 seconds remaining. Senior Grace Jacobs added 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

But the rebounding disparity — Bay held a 17-5 advantage in offensive rebounds — and a cold 34% shooting touch from the field kept the Redmen from piecing together the long run they needed.

Joining Andrejcak in double figures was fellow senior Barb Aldridge with 11 points (nine from behind the arc). Sophomore Chaeli Ziebarth had four points and a team-high eight rebounds.

“We need to be more consistent, understand our spacing better,” Curran said. “But overall, I think we’ll be okay.”

The contest marked the middle of a busy three-game week for the Rockets, who beat Eylria 68-33 Dec. 2 and lost to Elyria Catholic 50-42 on Saturday. Conference play continues this week with games at 7:30 tonight at Fairview and at 2 p.m. Saturday at home against Buckeye.

So early in the schedule, Curran admitted the Rockets are still figuring out how they want to play. But an identity, based on defensive effort, is starting to form.

“I think we have a lot of work to do,” Andrejcak said. “We need to fix some small things, but once we fix those we’ll be a pretty good team overall.”

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