ROYERSFORD - The message Spring-Ford High's girls basketball team was getting Thursday night was similar to the Code Blue warnings issued to Philadelphia's homeless when the outdoor temperature dips into single digits - "If you're cold outside - go inside."
The Rams moved the ball well and shot with accuracy in the early stages of their Pioneer Athletic Conference game against visiting Perkiomen Valley. Then, they struggled and finished the second quarter with just one field goal.
After the intermission, Spring-Ford focused on working the ball inside against the Vikings and the plan worked well. The Rams broke the game open in the third quarter and then finished strong to post a 59-45 win.
The Rams and their guests teamed up to produce an interesting and well-played first quarter with Spring-Ford ahead by three (19-16) at the first break. In the second quarter, S-F's Allie Kakareka nailed a three-pointer at the 6:25 mark to give her team a 22-20 lead.
Spring-Ford did not score again for the remainder of the half and then went 1:15 into the third quarter before changing the numbers on its half of the scoreboard.
Fortunately for the Rams, Perk Valley wasn't lighting up the board either. The Vikes had just seven points in the second quarter and led by a single point (23-22) at halftime.
"In the second quarter, we had a couple turnovers," said Spring-Ford coach Jeff Rinehimer, whose team is now 16-5 overall and 10-2 in the PAC-10. "We lost our intensity but Perk Valley had theirs. The engine turned off. Any lead we had evaporated fast.
"But, we regained it in the second half - especially the fourth quarter. In the first half, we relied on our outside shooting too much. In the second half, we wanted to make a commitment to get the ball inside."
The Rams followed that commitment and started the second half with three consecutive layups by their big girl inside - Jasmin Hinnant.
"We played harder in the second half," said Hinnant, a freshman. "We were more intense. I think I did a better job of getting position underneath so it was easier for our guards to pass me the ball."
Kakareka, who finished as Spring-Ford's leading scorer with 16 points, said, "In the second quarter, we just weren't making our shots - and we weren't getting the rebounds. In the third quarter, getting it inside was the real key. Just pushing it in there made it a different game for us."
Perkiomen Valley dropped to 14-8 with the loss - 7-5 in PAC-10 competition. The Vikes' leading scorer was Chantel Mattiola with 17 points.
"We were really pumped up in the first half," said Mattiola, a junior guard. "In the second half, we made really stupid mistakes and Spring-Ford took advantage of it. That's how we got down - a lot of unforced errors. And, Spring-Ford played really good defense. They're a really aggressive team."