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A little time off may have been just what the Collins girls’ basketball team needed.
The host Titans, who hadn’t played a game since Dec. 22 and only had one practice in between then and Jan. 1, beat Presentation Academy, 44-34, Wednesday night in their first game of 2013.
“Last year I thought we came out of that second [Christmas break] tournament kind of dead-legged,” Titans Coach Phillip Conder said. “This year I gave them some time off to see if it might help us a little.”
Rested Collins came out strong early, building a 22-9 halftime lead then held off a late rally by the Toppers for its second consecutive victory.
Senior forward Aaliyah Wells scored a game-high 20 points for the Titans (6-5), who won four of their first five games this season but lost four in a row before beating Jeffersontown, 52-44, in the seventh-place game of South Oldham’s Lady Dragon Hoop Fest on Dec. 22. Collins practiced once (on New Year’s Eve) after that before hosting Presentation.
“We looked a little rusty,” said Conder, whose team shot just 33.3 percent from the field.
The Titans, though, slowly chipped off the rust. They led, 11-5 at the end of the first quarter, then got a 3-pointer from Skylar Clemens and a 3-point play from Wells early in the second period to open up a 10-point lead (17-7).
“We got some easy buckets in transition early,” Conder said.
Collins led by 13 at halftime, then pushed that to 15 (24-9) on Wells’ basket 17 seconds into the second half.
Presentation (6-7) battled back, pulling to within seven (27-20) late in the third quarter before back-to-back baskets by Katie Vogel and Wells.
Wells hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to start the fourth period. Then, after the Toppers hit one free throw, Vogel knocked down a pair of foul shots to extend the Titans’ lead to 12 (36-24) with 5:50 to play.
Pres cut Collins' lead to six (40-34) with 1:33 left, but Bailey Rankin’s layup and two more free throws from Vogel iced it for the Titans.
Collins held the Toppers to 20 percent (8-for-40) shooting and to a season-low point total.
In addition to Wells’ big game, Vogel added seven points – she hit five of six from the free-throw line – in 20 minutes.
“She’s getting better, in practice and games,” Conder said of his junior forward, who has been a key contributor for Collins of late. “She’s smarter with the ball, and she’s a great free-throw shooter.”
Meanwhile Clemens contributed team highs in rebounds (seven) and assists (four) in addition to four points.
The Titans play at Anderson County (14-1) at 6 p.m. Friday as part of a 30th District girl-boy doubleheader.