When sophomore guard Alyvia Essex finds her range, her RCGC women’s basketball team becomes nearly unstoppable. Case in point – Thursday night’s nifty 82-60 NJCAA Region XIX triumph over visiting Middlesex County College.
The former Atlantic City High standout drilled in a game-high 25 points, including three 3-point baskets in the final moments of play to help the Roadrunners snap a three-game losing streak to improve their record to 6-3 overall.
Photo Highlights vs Middlesex County
Essex was joined in the offensive assault against a good Colts’ team (8-4) by freshman guard Tierah Bush (Woodrow Wilson), who dropped in 24 points as RCGC extended a 30-26 halftime lead into a rout in the second half.
“I was more aggressive and taking it to the rim a lot,” said Essex. “In the second half there were more open shots, so I took advantage of that too.”
The talented second-year guard began attacking the Colts early and often, hitting occasional first half points and then spreading out the ball to her teammates for early scoring opportunities. In the second half she exploded for 19 points, including a flurry of three-point baskets in the final four minutes to finish strong.
“The difference with Alyvia is she plays well when she has her confidence,” said coach Rich Cooper. In the last three games she missed some early shots and maybe lost some confidence. Tonight she attacked the rim early, made some nice passes and found her shooting touch. She had a great game.”
Bush also contributed big time in the scoring department. The freshman guard tossed in 15 points over the first two quarters, followed by eight points from center Katie Dunn, to lead the Runners to a 30-26 halftime lead. Bush kept up the pace with nine second-half points to finish with 24 as RCGC got back into the win column following a 5-0 start and three straight losses.
“We’re starting to put together four quarters of basketball,” Cooper said. “We attacked the basket early, and it made it easier to set up our jump shots. This was a solid effort from everyone.”
The Roadrunners face their next test Saturday at home (2 pm) against Community College of Philadelphia.