Town Crier Sports Staff
Riverside knew coming into their first round state tournament match-up with Carlisle that things would have to go just right for the Lady Rebels to advance to the quarter-finals, and for a little more than a half, things did. The Lady Rebels battled the tournament favorite Lady Bison on even terms before Carlisle broke a 19-19 tie with a back breaking 17-0 run, ending any thoughts of a Riverside upset with a convincing 50-26 victory Wednesday afternoon at Ted Lyons Gymnasium in Danville.
Riverside more than held their own in the first period, scoring the game's first two points on a Katey Campbell lay-up. After Carlisle battled back to take a 3-2 lead, sophomore Brianna Driver completed a three point play, giving the Lady Rebels a 5-3 edge midway through the first quarter. Riverside grabbed their biggest lead of the game, 8-5, when Campbell scored on an offensive rebound with 2:02 left in the opening quarter. The Lady Bison closed the quarter with a 5-0 run capped off by Julie Inman's three pointer just before the first quarter buzzer, giving Carlisle a 10-8 lead at the break.
The Lady Bison slowly built their lead to six points, 15-9, with 2:40 to go before the half, but Riverside closed the quarter with their most impressive spurt of the night, scoring the half's last six points. Campbell started the Riverside run with a pair of free throws at the 2:07 mark, followed by a basket by Driver. Sophomore Morgan Emery closed out the half with a pair of free throws as the two teams went to the dressing rooms tied 15-15.
Carlisle began the third quarter, scoring the first four points, when Inman drove for two after a steal, followed by a lay-up by Tierra Geans, putting the Lady Bison up19-15. The Lady Rebels answered when Marisa Johnson scored from the inside. The six foot senior followed the basket with a pair of free throws at the 5:06 mark to tie the game at 19-19.
Carlisle's Jennifer Simpson ripped the first of her three straight treys to put the Lady Bison up for good, 22-19, with 4:55 left in the quarter. Inman followed with a driving lay-up, and after a free throw by Emily Schaffer gave the Lady Bison a 25-19 lead, Carlisle hit three more treys, two by Simpson, as the Lady Bison broke the game open, 36-19. Carlisle's full court press led to seven Lady Rebel turnovers in a three minute span as Riverside struggled to get the ball inbounds. The Lady Bison pressure defense made it hard for Riverside to get anything going offensively. Campbell finally broke the Carlisle onslaught with a pair of free throws with four seconds remaining before the end of the quarter, but the Lady Bison took a 36-21 lead into the final frame and never looked back.
"I thought we executed really well the first two quarters, and probably should have had a lead at the half," said Riverside Coach Greg Rainwater. "But we didn't handle their press well at all in the second half, and helped them out by throwing the ball into their double teams. When we ran out of time outs, we just couldn't get their run stopped. But I am proud of my kids. They played one of the best teams in the state even for a half and really played with a lot of heart. We did seem to be a little tight. We didn't shoot our three pointers well at all and Carlisle's press really hurt us. But we are a young team and there was a lot of pressure on us. I thought we responded pretty well considering who we were playing, and I am proud of my kids. We won 28 games this year, and that's the third most in Lady Rebel history. The kids have had a great year."
Riverside finished just 24 percent from the field, including a paltry one of nine from beyond the three point arc. The Lady Rebels were 11-14 from the charity stripe but finished with 20 turnovers.
Carlisle hit 53 percent from the field, including 6-19 from the three point arc. The Lady Bison were 6-11 from the foul stripe.
Riverside was led by Campbell who scored nine points while Driver and Johnson netted seven and five points respectively. Holly Dudley tallied three points while Morgan Emery added two.
Carlisle placed two players in double figures as Julie Inman and Jennifer Simpson led the Lady Bison with 11 points apiece.