Long-range shooting sinks Riverview in playoff loss
Riverview girls basketball coach Keith Stitt shook his head in frustration, as a barrage of North Catholic's 3-point shots swished through the net.
Stitt had hoped to focus on taking away North Catholic's front-court size advantage, but the Trojanettes ruined Stitt's game plan with an early long-range outburst and dropped Riverview, 65-32, on Wednesday night in a WPIAL Class A semifinal game at Gateway.
North Catholic senior guard Lynzi Mueller sank a season-high five 3-pointers — all in the first half — and finished with a game-high 22 points.
The Trojanettes made seven 3s in the first half and raced to a big lead. For the game, they shot 7 for 14 from beyond the arc, with Mueller making 5 of 10 attempts.
"I wanted to think they wouldn't shoot lights out," Stitt said. "But you can play a 0-15 team, and if they shoot like that, you're going to have problems. Plus, they had girls bigger than any of ours inside."
Early on, Riverview employed 1-3-1 and 2-3 defenses in an effort to clog up the middle. Unfortunately for the Raiders, that left Mueller wide open for several 3-point attempts, and she took advantage.
"Riverview packed in their defense a little, and for (Mueller) to hit those threes was huge," North Catholic coach Molly Rottmann said. "That opens up the inside. They were leaving Lauren (Wolosik, a junior guard) and Lynzi, and challenging them to make the shot up top."
Riverview tried to keep pace by responding with 3s and made four, including three by junior point guard Ashley Bruni. But North Catholic's combination of stellar play from the perimeter and around the hoop proved to be too much for the Raiders.
North Catholic, which led, 42-19, at the break, didn't need to make a 3-pointer in the second half because the Trojanettes' tall forwards took over the scoring and preserved their team's comfortable advantage.
Earlier in the season, North Catholic defeated Riverview twice in Section 2-A play, 57-38 and 49-33. However, those games were much closer heading into the fourth quarter than last night's meeting.
"Those first two games we beat them were not an indication of how close they were," Rottmann said. "Riverview doesn't give up. I had to make a point to our girls that, if we get up, we have to keep our foot on the gas pedal."