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Rahkonen keys Legacy’s comeback in Season Tip-Off

Legacy’s girls basketball team seemed destined to lose on the first day of the season Friday.

The Longhorns couldn’t stop committing fouls and trailed Faith Lutheran by 11 points early in the third quarter.

But suddenly, everything just clicked.

Carolina Rahkonen scored all of her 20 points during the second half as Legacy rallied for a 56-38 win over the Crusaders in the Season Tip-Off Tournament at Del Sol.

“We were finally able to keep them off the foul line, and we started getting better spacing on defense,” Legacy coach Tiffany Richardson said. “A lot of their points in the first half came on free throws, and we couldn’t keep doing that.”

After posting a 57-5 win over Sierra Vista in their first game of the day, the Longhorns (2-0) didn’t move well on defense in the first 18 minutes of their second game.

As a result, the Longhorns committed 12 first-half fouls and gave up too many easy baskets down low. Faith Lutheran post Alex Wright had 11 points in the first half, and guard Dani Tharaldson added nine points — seven from the free-throw line — in the half.

The Crusaders (1-1) bumped their lead to 31-20 in the opening minutes of the third quarter before Legacy increased its defensive pressure. The Longhorns’ full-court press was effective in forcing turnovers, and Legacy cashed in.

Faith Lutheran made only two field goals in the final 14 minutes.

“We were definitely more aggressive defensively,” Richardson said. “I always tell them that if you don’t do anything else, play defense.”

It didn’t hurt that Rahkonen, a foreign exchange student from Finland, caught fire. A 5-foot-9-inch senior wing, Rahkonen scored 10 points in the third quarter as Legacy rallied to take a 40-37 lead. She tacked on 10 more points, including two 3-pointers, in the fourth quarter to help the Longhorns pull away.

“Carolina is a newbie for us, but she can do a lot of things,” Richardson said.

Charleea Armstrong added 10 points, and Danae Jensen and Markeshia Evans each scored seven for Legacy.

Wright scored 16 and Tharaldson 11 for the Crusaders.

“We have to learn to play with a little adversity,” Richardson said. “We didn’t have any in our first game, and I don’t think they came out ready in this game. We’ll take it. It’s a good start.”

Contact reporter Bartt Davis at bdavis@reviewjournal.com or (702) 387-5230.

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