SHEPHERDSTOWN — Basketball teams can show much different faces on the same night. In one half, the team may be lethargic and even seem uncaring. In the next half, that same team may summon its emotion and may unleash a team-wide effort that can save the night and keep defeat outside the back door.
The Shepherd women’s team wasn’t as radical in changing as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but it did show the scattered crowd a facsimile of “A Tale of Two Halves.”
Reduced to a plodding, no-spirit first half with only 23 points, the Lady Rams came back from intermission and showed a 54-point second half that swamped visiting Wheeling Jesuit and wrought a 77-63 conference win brought by the revitalization.
Shepherd would just as soon forget the first half or at least burn the tape of its transgressions.
Priscilla Moseh had played 12 and hadn’t scored. Jimyse Brown had played 10 minutes and hadn’t scored. Molly Rohlfing had played eight minutes and hadn’t scored.
Where had even the paltry 23 points come from?
Wheeling Jesuit had only 28 points with 32 percent shooting from the field.
And then the second half started.
Shepherd’s Emily Daniel had the first four points of the last half. Alex Weakland landed a three-pointer. Daniel’s “three” pushed Shepherd to its first lead at 36-33.
In the first seven minutes, Shepherd outscored the Cardinals, 20-9.
Moseh scrambled through a Wheeling Jesuit crowd for two scores. And the Lady Rams moved ahead to a 54-46 lead.
Only Jaila Bryant and her bullseye free throw shooting kept the Cardinals in the hunt.
With others following the lead of Daniel and Weakland, Shepherd found a useful balance with Gabby Flinchum, Rachel Johnson, and Alex Tamaz scoring and handing out assists.
Wheeling Jesuit didn’t have the talent or the verve to bring a late-game challenge.
Shepherd’s second-half reversal of form had given it a conference record of 5-8 overall and 4-5 in its WVIAC. Wheeling Jesuit’s less-than-mediocre shooting had left it with a 5-8 overall record and just a 2-7 conference mark.
A 54-point half had tipped the scales in Shepherd’s favor, And the 23-point half was tucked away behind the curtains where little children and family pets couldn’t see it.