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In the moment, Teagan Paris shines

Big baskets help Warren girls down Maplewood, 62-49

Times Observer Photo by Matt Spielman Warren’s Teagan Paris attempts to score inside during the first half of Saturday’s nonleague game against Maplewood at Warren Area High School.

Senior Teagan Paris doesn’t consistently find her way into the scoring column.

But it seems whenever she does, it’s a big basket for the Warren girls basketball team.

Paris scored 11 points with all five of her buckets coming at seemingly big moments in the game as the Dragons topped nonleague Maplewood, 62-49, on Saturday afternoon at Warren Area High School.

“I was really proud of Teagan. She’s not usually an 11-point scorer, but she’s a kid who, night in and night out, will do all the little things,” Warren head coach Lisa LaVan said. “She did that and was able to finish.”

Junior Emma Ruhlman led the Dragons (2-0) with 21 points — making 13 of 14 free throw attempts — while fellow junior Riley Childress added 19 points — making 7 of 9 free throw attempts.

“She’s a free throw kid, for sure. She knows now being older, her points are going to come from there,” LaVan said of Ruhlman. “Teams aren’t going to let her get easy buckets. She’s got to be able to knock them down.”

Sophomore Sadie Thomas led Maplewood with 17 points and junior Isabella Eimer had 13.

Coming off a relatively easy 58-24 victory over Franklin on Friday afternoon, Warren found out almost immediately it was in for a stiffer test Saturday.

“Maplewood is a very physical team,” Ruhlman said. ” … We kind of got a different look with the defenses they ran.”

Bailey Varndell and Eimer hit back-to-back 3-pointers early for the Tigers as they led 6-0, but midway through the opening quarter Paris was fouled and made a basket to tie the game at 8. Sammie Ruhlman’s lone bucket of the game with 1:03 remaining in the first quarter gave the Dragons their first lead at 16-14.

The lead changed hands four times in the second quarter before the hosts took the lead for good on an Emma Ruhlman free throw with 2:23 remaining.

“It was very important to have a better test. We knew they were going to be super-physical,” LaVan said. ” … They’ll do great in Class 2A just because they are so tough.”

Sammie Ruhlman followed with a pair of assists, the first on a transition layup from Kelsey Stuart and the second on a 3-pointer from Childress as the Dragons’ lead grew to eight by halftime.

“Sammie finds people,” LaVan said. ” … She just sees things because she’s grown. She sees the floor better now because she sees over top of people.”

A 7-0 Maplewood run midway through the third quarter pulled the Tigers within five at 43-38, but Emma Ruhlman hit another pair of free throws and Paris made another basket as she was fouled with 22 seconds remaining to make it a nine-point game heading into the final eight minutes.

“She is a gritty player and rebounds the heck out of the ball,” Ruhlman said of Paris. ” … Being able to drive and when her girl comes over to me, being able to kick it to her and her being able to finish is really important.”

Maplewood’s Natalie Slagle scored the first two points of the fourth quarter to make it a seven-point game, but Warren went on a 10-0 run over the next five minutes of game time to essentially put the game away.

“We knew coming in that they are very athletic. … They rebound the heck out of the ball,” Ruhlman said. ” … Even when you are right on her, No. 13 (Eimer) is still going to shoot. We adjusted and Teagan started face-guarding her a little bit.”

Thomas hit a 3-pointer with 2:11 left to pull the Tigers within 10, but Childress converted a three-point play with 1:35 left to seal the deal.

“A lead isn’t anything when you are hitting 3s. You can be up by 10 and if they hit three 3s, you are only up by one,” Ruhlman said. “We knew we needed to get a big lead on them to run away with it.”

Maplewood made seven 3-pointers, accounting for nearly half of its 49 points, but shot just 2 of 13 from beyond the arc in the second half.

“I told my girls,” LaVan said, “20 points might be a lead that we feel comfortable with.”

NOTES: Warren was 19 of 46 (41.3%) from the field, including 3 of 9 (33.3%) from the 3-point line, and turned the ball over eight times. The Dragons also made 21 of 27 (77.8%) of their free throws. … Maplewood was 18 of 55 (32.7%) from the field, including 7 of 24 (29.2%) from the 3-point line, and turned the ball over nine times.

MAPLEWOOD (49)

Moorhead 0 0 0, Thomas 6 4 17, Eimer 5 0 13, Doolittle 1 0 2, Mangus 3 0 6, Beuchat 0 0 0, Varndell 3 0 9. Totals 18 4 49.

WARREN (62)

SRuhlman 1 0 2, Kuzminski 1 0 2, CBeers 0 0 0, Childress 5 7 19, Stuart 3 0 6, ERuhlman 4 13 21, Paris 5 1 11, GRuhlman 1 0 3, Munksgard 0 0 0. Totals 19 21 62.

3-point goals–Thomas, Eimer 3, Varndell 3.

Maplewood 14 13 11 11 — 49

Warren 16 19 12 15 — 62

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