Knights snap two-game skid with offensive explosion

The Our Redeemer’s Christian School girls basketball team entered Saturday’s game on a two-game losing streak, but senior forward Ashley Koppinger helped the Knights return to their winning ways with her best game of the season in a 77-47 victory over visiting Max.

Koppinger scored 16 of her game-high 22 points in the first half before sitting out the fourth quarter and four Knights finished in double figures as ORCS registered its highest-scoring game of the season. Prior to Saturday’s contest, the Knights’ largest point total was 63 in their season opener against North Shore.

“We knew we could (score) like that,” Koppinger said. “Tonight it all came together and we all played really well.”

The Knights (4-3) wasted little time setting up their high-tempo offense, scoring often on fast-break layups generated by full-court man-to-man defense and outlet passes off rebounds. Koppinger outscored the Cossacks 12-10 in the first quarter and the Knights held a 16-point advantage after the opening frame.

“Ashley stepped it up,” ORCS coach Kory Nelson said. “She came to play tonight. She has a chance to score a thousand points this year (for her career) if she does what she’s done over the last few years. I think that’s starting to sink in that she has that opportunity.”

Defensively, ORCS forced 18 first-half turnovers. The Knights’ off-ball pressure forced both a 10-second backcourt violation and a 5-second inbound violation in the first half. ORCS led Max 51-25 at the break, which surpassed their total output in four of their previous six games.

“We ran the ball really well and that’s what we’ve been trying to do all season,” Nelson said. “It’s starting to click right now.”

ORCS eighth-grade guard Morgan Olson gave the Knights and their fans something to worry about in a game that was well in hand. Late in the second quarter, Olson ran into a screen at the top of the key and landed hard on her chest. She left the game shortly after to receive medical attention. Olson said she thought she felt her chest collapse.

“I’m good,” Olson said, “I just had the wind knocked out of me.”

Olson returned late in the third quarter, hitting a 3-pointer and a two-point basket in succession in a 19-point third quarter for the Knights. Olson finished with 15 points, nine of which came in the second half.

“We definitely have some good games ahead and tonight was a good start to get back on track,” Olson said.

Max (1-6) had three players score in double figures and were led by Kim Delzer and Kaylee Capp with 12. The Cossacks also posted a new offensive high this season, scoring a point more than their 46-26 victory over White Shield.

ORCS travels to Garrison on Monday. Max hosts Wilton-Wing on Tuesday.