By the start of the second quarter it looked as if the first game of the city tournament was going to result in a South Boston win. The Lady Knights were up 12-7 with five minutes to go in the quarter and junior Raven Kelsey, who had scored every basket for O’Bryant up until that point, was forced to sit after picking up two fouls.
It was a time when her team needed her most and senior Kiana Daley found her offensive touch, leading O’Bryant to a 54-28 victory with a game-high 24 points.
“She played a great game,” South Boston coach Andrea Higgins said. “We tried to put everybody on our team on her and no one was able to stop her. She just got herself in position, got the ball and was just playing aggressive.”
The forward scored all of O’Bryant’s 10 points while the junior sat with foul trouble until the start of the third quarter.
“I noticed that our team had to get back up in the game. We were losing and we just had to bring up the intensity,” Daley said. “[Coach Trudy Fisher] just said bring the intensity up because we were looking dead.”
It definitely was not one of the better starts for O’Bryant. The Tigers went 1 for 4 from the line and only scored 3 points in the first quarter.
“It was crystal clear that South Boston wanted that game more than we did. They came out much more aggressive than we were,” Fisher said. “They fought for the ball, they kept beating us long with the pass on the fast break. After that I just told my girls to settle down."
Fisher had a more specific message for Daley. Once Kelsey went out of the game, she told her senior to cut down on the perimeter shots and take the ball to the basket.
“I had to give her a few choice coaching words to get her started,” Fisher said. “She’s taking these 3-pointers and she’s not driving to the basket. Go to the basket and get fouled.”
The advice worked out for the junior when South Boston could not find a way to stop the forward from penetrating.
“We weren’t as aggressive as we have been in the last couple of games and she took advantage of it and did a very good job,” Higgins said.
Besides a motivated Daley, another O’Bryant advantage was experience in the city tournament. Fisher’s team has made it to the championship game the last three years, taking home the honors once.
However, according to Fisher, none of that now matters.
“This is a different season. Both [New Mission and Latin Academy] will be a good challenge,” Fisher said.
O’Bryant will tip off against New Mission for the city championship at 5 p.m. on Thursday at Madison Park.
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.