JOHNSTOWN - The Fulton-Montgomery Community College Lady Raiders ran their winning streak to six games Thursday, powering their way past the Herkimer Lady Generals 65-60.
Neither team could buy a basket in the early going. Nearly five-and-a-half minutes ticked off the clock before Kendra Jordan sank a free throw for FMCC that made the score 1-0. Stephanie Rice was a catalyst in giving the Lady Raiders an early 10-point lead. Rice found Sherice Gayle under the basket for a layup to give FMCC a 9-4 advantage before knocking down a jumper on FMCC's next possession. Soon after, she found Veronica Chea, who converted a one-and-one opportunity to push the score to 14-4.
The Lady Raiders did a great deal of damage from the free throw line in the first half and remained efficient for the duration of the contest. FMCC knocked down 13 of 15 in the half, while Herkimer managed a meager 5 of 15 from the stripe.
Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s Sherice Gayle (42) looks for a way around Herkimer County Community College’s Alyssa Craig (32) during Thursday’s game. Craig, a Fonda-Fultonville graduate, had 10 points for the Lady Generals. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)
Herkimer's Alyssa Craig, a Fonda-Fultonville graduate, dialed twice from long distance midway through the half, but a three-pointer from Jordan pushed FMCC's lead back to 10. The Lady Generals were the more productive team on the glass in the first half, but that changed when Monae Abrams got going in the second.
FMCC ran their offense through Abrams and Gayle with much success for most of the second half. Abrams, who didn't tally a point or rebound in the first half, grabbed a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards in the second. Gayle powered her way to the basket for five second-half field goals before finishing with a game-high 19 points and 11 rebounds of her own.
"They're going to be our solid performers," said FMCC head coach Kevin Jones. "We need them to be big every game and I think they're two of the better post kids in the region."
Herkimer's Emily Rexford did all she could to counter FMCC's low-post presence with a touch from outside. Rexford hit three three-pointers in the half, including one that gave Herkimer their first lead of the game at 41-40. After five straight points from Rexford put Herkimer up by four, the Lady Raiders responded in a big way. Gayle scored six as part of a 13-1 run that swung the momentum back in FMCC's favor.
Gayle and Abrams combined for six free throws down the stretch, as Herkimer's offense grew stagnant.
The Lady Raiders finished an impressive 24 of 29 from the line.
Rexford led Herkimer (4-7 overall) with 16 points while Korey Bunal and Craig also finished in double figures. Kaylyn Dickerson and Shahadah Williams were active on the boards for the Lady Generals, finishing with 14 and 10, respectively.
Starter Kassandra Flowers did not play in FMCC's first game back since the holiday break. She will be out with an injury for a few more games, but figures to strengthen the offense upon her return.
"We're without Flowers for a few games but once she gets back and we keep pounding it in, they can kick it back to her and it could be dangerous for people," said Jones. "No one won the region today so we have to get better, get everybody back, get everybody healthy, keep working on our execution, and we'll see where we end up."
The Lady Raiders (9-2 overall) will be back at it Saturday at 1 p.m. when they match up against Mohawk Valley Community College on the road.
Fulton-Montgomery Community College 65, Herkimer County Community College 60
Gayle 6-7-19, Abrams 3-5-11, Chea 2-3-7, Rice 2-2-7, Woney 2-2-6, Jordan 1-2-5, Er. Redwood 1-3-5, Ward 1-0-3, Ev. Redwood 1-0-2. Totals 19-24-65.
Rexford 6-1-16, Bunal 5-2-12, Craig 2-4-10, Williams 4-0-8, Dickerson 3-0-7, Randio 2-3-7. Totals 22-10-60.
3 point goals: FMCC 3 (Ward, Jordan, Rice); Herkimer 6 (Rexford 3, Craig 2, Dickerson)
Halftime: FMCC, 29-23.