Reinhardt's Becca Cheeks

Reinhardt's Becca Cheeks (Reinhardt Athletics)

WALESKA, Ga. – Reinhardt women’s basketball used a strong 24-point fourth quarter to double its lead on No. 20 University of Saint Francis (Ind.) to prevail at home, 65-41, after Sara Byers (20 points) and former Sonoraville High standout Rebecca Cheeks (19) accounted for more than half of the Eagle scoring in the win.

The triumph pushed the hosts to 10-3 on the season.

“Great way to go into the Christmas break… I’m proud of the way our team has responded to another top 25 team, and we have preached toughness to our team all year,” head coach Lindsey Huffman said. “I saw some serious toughness this week, and when we play with that kind of focused toughness, we are hard to beat. Giving up only 41 points speaks volumes to our teams’ commitment to the defensive goals we’ve set and re-emphasized this week.

“Major credit to our girls for being locked in this week and executing our game plan.”

The Eagles didn’t allow the Cougars to score more than 12 points in any quarter, and stormed out to a seven-point lead in the first after Saint Francis was only able to muster nine points on the board. A big part of the victory was the rebounding edge Reinhardt held over their visitors – 39-26 – which directly correlated to 17 second-chance tallies.

The home team was also focused on getting the ball inside, and it worked, as the club registered nearly as many points in the paint as the defense gave up (38). Byers’ energy off the bench was second-to-none as she went 7-for-10 from the floor and hit five of her six attempts from beyond the arc.

Cheeks was just one point behind after her 9-of-13 effort.

Both teams were nearly identical in shooting percentage, with Reinhardt gathering 41 percent and Saint Francis 39.5, but it was the Cougars’ 25 turnovers which helped widen the scoring margin in crucial times.

Jaleya Mosley – who struggled offensively – found other ways to positively change the outcome by reeling in five of her club’s 16 steals and added a team-best eight assists on the evening.

Bria White was third in scoring with eight points and a trio of rebounds.

Holiday break has now arrived for the squad, as it has two weeks off before heading to Florida to take on Webber International (Fla.) on Dec. 29 in Babson Park. Tip is set for just after 6 p.m.

In other recent college basketball action:

Rierson scores nine in Bobcats’ road win

AIKEN, S.C. – The Georgia College Men’s Basketball team (6-3, 2-1 PBC) held off a late rally from USC Aiken (4-3, 1-2 PBC) Tuesday, the Bobcats taking a 62-59 win.

The Bobcats led from start to finish after forward Kohl Roberts (Atlanta, Georgia) hit a jumper on the first possession. Georgia College started the game 10-0 and led 23-8 at the 11-minute mark.

Roberts led the balanced scoring attack with 11 points, pulling in a team-best eight rebounds as well. Forward Isaac Thomas (Trion, Georgia) added 10 points and seven boards. Sophomore Garrick DeBowles (Marietta, Georgia) had 10 points on a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor, and freshman Andrew Prestwood (Milledgeville, Georgia) knocked down a pair of threes en route to a career-best 10 points. Former Calhoun High standout Chapin Rierson had nine points and pulled down eight rebounds.

USCA made adjustments in the second half, after trailing by 19 at the break. The Pacers chipped away all throughout the second half, getting it to a one-possession game at the 7:24 mark after at Doniel Dean layup cut it to 50-48.

After the teams traded buckets, USCA had it down to one possession again at 62-59 after Henry Bolton III hit a three with 15 seconds left. After a pair of missed free throws by the Bobcats, USCA had one more chance at a tie but couldn’t find the mark as time expired.

The Bobcats out-shot USCA 41 percent (23-56) to 36 percent (21-58) from the floor, but the Pacers kept it close by knocking down eight threes.

GC Men’s Basketball is back in action Saturday, Dec. 30 at 3:30 p.m., playing host to Flagler College.