Riverview girls stun No. 3 Jeannette
After giving Jeannette a relatively close game in the teams' first meeting, Riverview's girls basketball team had its sights on an upset in the Section 3-AA rematch.
Consider it done.
Riverview showed patience on offense, breaking the press and settling into an effective half-court set, as it slowed down and stunned Class-AA No. 3 Jeannette, 60-54, on Monday night in Oakmont.
Four players scored in double figures for Riverview (10-6, 4-4), which took a 34-30 lead into halftime, then stretched its advantage to 43-31 midway through the third quarter. Unnerved by the situation, the Raiders held off a late flurry by the first-place Jayhawks (10-5, 7-1), who had won 16 straight section games.
“We did a good job of taking care of the ball, and our younger girls really stepped up,” said senior point guard Ashley Bruni, who had eight points. “This game felt like the Monessen game from last year. It's the kind of win that builds confidence. It shows what we can do when we play together as five.”
Freshman Sadie Buchser and sophomore Bree Patsey each scored 15 points, senior Erin Lauff added 12 and sophomore Leah Sero chipped in 10 for the Raiders (10-6, 4-4), who after the game were reminiscing about their quarterfinal upset of No. 4 seed Monessen in last year's playoffs.
“This one's up there with that one,” Riverview coach Keith Stitt said. “Our girls played hard and were patient.”
Riverview used several pick-and-rolls to get behind the defense and converted high-percentage shots. A number of those shots didn't fall, so the lead could have been larger.
Senior Division I Charlotte recruit Ciara Gregory, the WPIAL's leading scorer, had 25 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter for the Jayhawks, who won the first game against Riverview, 76-63.
Gregory faced box-and-1 much of the game, with Riverview dropping into the occasional 1-3-1 zone. Riverview forced Jeannette to take quick shots, and many of them were hurried.
The Jayhawks shot 26 percent from the field.
“Our shots weren't falling; it was a bad shooting night for us,” Jeannette coach LuAnn Mills said. “We couldn't get anything to fall.
“Riverview has some good shooters, and that hurt us. We had some concerns based on the first time we played them.”
Gregory showed she has the ability to take over in the clutch. Her steal and layup tied it 51-51 with 1:40 to play, but the 5-foot-10 Patsey scored off an inbounds play under the basket, and Lauff made 3 of 4 free throws to put the Raiders in front, 56-51, with 50 seconds left.
After Bruni's free throw made it 58-51, Jeannette's Monique Redman hit a 3 with 15.5 seconds left to get the Jayhawks within four. But Riverview didn't panic, getting the ball downcourt to Patsey, who scored with 9.4 left to ice it.
“The kids responded; they played well the whole game and played hard defensively,” Stitt said. “We stayed patient in our offense. We knew if we make five, six, seven, eight passes, we'll be better off.
“Jeannette wants you to hurry up and shoot and then get out and run.”
Buchser, who is showing she can perform in big games, scored 10 in the first half, including a pair of 3s in the tone-setting opening quarter.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the Local Sports Editor of the Valley News Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.