Second half rally sends Riverside past Melbourne 44-36
Haven Robertson scored 12 of her game high 16 points in the second half to help Riverside rally to a 44-36 victory over host Melbourne in the semifinals of the 3A Regional Tournament Friday night.
Riverside trailed 28-23 at the half. Danni Hardaway dropped in a free throw to begin the third quarter, upping Melbourne’s lead to 29-23. But the Lady Rebels caught fire, ignited by Robertson and Bailey Fisher, who combined for 10 points, sparking a 12-0 run over the next three minutes to put the Lady Rebels on top 35-29 with 2:29 left in the quarter. Reagan Rapert finally broke the Lady Bearkatz scoring drought with a three pointer at the 13 second mark, leaving Riverside ahead 35-32 after three periods of play.
Rapert began the fourth quarter, knocking down a 17-foot jumper to close the Lady Rebel lead to a single point, 35-34. Robertson answered with a triple to push the Riverside lead back to four with 4:51 left in the game. Neither team could score over the next 2:00 until Rapert hit a seven-foot leaner to slice the Riverside advantage to 38-36 with 2:30 showing on the clock. The Lady Rebels went to their slow down game and milked the clock down until Robertson was fouled with 29 seconds left. The senior calmly nailed both ends of the one and one, giving Riverside a 40-36 lead. Melbourne misfired on a long three pointer, with Robertson grabbing the rebound where she was fouled. Robertson again dropped in both free throws to up Riverside’s margin to 42-36. A late Carson Smith basket set the final margin, pushing Riverside into Saturday’s finals with Mountain View.
Melbourne raced to an early 18-9 lead after the first quarter as the Lady Bearkatz shot a blistering 60 percent from the field in the early going. Melbourne threatened to run away with the game, opening a 24-9 advantage before Riverside battled back, outscoring the Lady Bearkatz 14-4 over the next five minutes to close to within five points at intermission.
“We really took their best shot in the first twelve minutes of the game. They owned us early. It wasn’t a lack of effort on our part. Melbourne just punched us in the mouth early. But we weathered the storm and in the last five minutes of the first half we were able to cut their lead down to five. I thought that was huge. We came out in the second half and showed unbelievable toughness. We had a relentless effort. I was tickled to death with how hard they played. They never blinked and I think that’s the mark of a championship team,” said Riverside coach Spencer Hoffman.
Fisher joined Robertson in double digits, scoring 10 points. Smith and Whitney Wagganor tallied seven points apiece while Hattie Milligan added four points. Riverside sank 10-12 free throws and nailed four three pointers.
Rapert paced the Bearkatz (25-5) with 10 points. Melbourne hit 10-13 free throws and drained three treys. Riverside forced Melbourne into 13 turnovers.