Palm Beach Lakes girls stay unbeaten with tournament title

5:00 p.m Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 Sports
Palm Beach Lakes celebrates its 70-39 victory over Westfield (Va.) in the HBC championship game at Dwyer. The Rams improved to 11-0 with the win. (Jodie Wagner/Palm Beach Post)

It’s been a good December for the Palm Beach Lakes girls basketball team.

The Rams kept their unbeaten streak intact Saturday afternoon at the Holiday Basketball Classic, moving to 11-0 with a 70-39 rout of Westfield (Va.) High in the American Challenge bracket championship game.

Keishmy Ayuso scored 20 points and Brittany Wilcox and Remi Halyard each added 12 for Palm Beach Lakes, which picked up its third win over an out-of-state opponent in the three-day competition at Benjamin and Dwyer High Schools.

The Rams beat Academy of the Holy Cross from Maryland and Dutchtown (Ga.) in the tournament.

“This feels great,” Palm Beach Lakes coach Cassandra Rahming said. “We played really hard. It’s been a long three days, so I was really happy.”

The Bulldogs (7-6) had a big advantage in size, and used it effectively early in the game. The lead changed hands several times before Lakes shook off its shooting rust late in the quarter.

The Rams opened a four-point lead following a Remi Halyard 3-pointer with 2:08 remaining, and extended it to nine and later 13 with a late run keyed by Halyard.

The senior guard had seven points in the first quarter, which ended with the Rams ahead 20-7.

Turnovers plagued Westfield late in the first quarter, and continued in the second quarter. Palm Beach Lakes — a quicker, more athletic team — took advantage.

The Rams built their lead to 16 points early in the quarter, and kept the pressure on.

“We have to play to our strength, which is our speed and our quickness,” Rahming said.

The half closed with Lakes ahead 35-17. Four Rams players had at least seven points in the quarter, with Keishmy Ayuso and Brittany Wilcox leading with eight.

Wilcox’s hot hand continued to start the second half, and Palm Beach Lakes followed her lead. The Rams went up by 20 midway through the third quarter, and closed with a 48-26 advantage going into the final eight minutes.

Lakes pulled away further to close the game, ending the contest on a 22-13 run as 10 Rams scored in the game, four in double figures.

Nicki McNamara led Westfield with 13 points.

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