MURFREESBORO — Riverdale’s 3-point bombers struggled to find their mark Saturday.
However, nationally-ranked Riverdale had no problems scoring off the dribble and in transition.
Riverdale, which is ranked sixth nationally by MaxPreps, dismantled Memphis Central 89-72 in a non-district girls basketball game featuring state powers at Johnny Parsley Memorial Gymnasium. Riverdale (10-0) opened the fourth quarter with nine straight to extend a six-point gap to a 69-54 advantage before Meme Hill’s 3-pointer ended the run.
“We felt like we could pull away from them later in the game,” Riverdale coach Cory Barrett said. “We wanted to keep the tempo high. I reminded our team that in the second quarter. We wanted to press even though we were giving up baskets and weren’t playing good defense. The tempo was where we wanted it.”
Riverdale finished the game 3-of-18 from the 3-point line. But it hit 17-of-20 from the free-throw line.
All five of Riverdale’s starters finished in double figures. MTSU signees Olivia Jones and Tyisha Petty led Riverdale with 24 and 21 points, respectively. Shelbie Davenport added 14 points. And Tiffany Lewis and Alexa Middleton chipped in 11 points apiece.
Memphis Central (5-3) senior Nina Davis, a Baylor signee, led all scorers with 31. Hill, who was playing her first game of the season after becoming eligible, added 24 points. And Tia Wooten had 13.
Memphis Central finished the game with 27 turnovers, and it struggled against Riverdale’s pressure in the fourth quarter.
“They took advantage of our turnovers,” Memphis Central coach Niki Bray said. “That swings the momentum and gets (Riverdale) going.”
Bray said both Davis and Hill had been sick. Bray said this was a good test for her team.
“We’ve got to play better when we’re fatigued,” Bray said. “You are playing the No. 6 team in the nation and No. 1 team in the state. These girls are finding out what it means to give everything for every minute for four quarters of every game.”
Riverdale hit just 2-of-13 from the 3-point line in the first half, but led 39-32 at halftime.
“They were playing a zone, and we’re not really used to teams playing a zone,” Jones said. “Our coach told us to get some touches in the paint. Most of the time when we did that we got a layup to go with it or a kick-out.”
Memphis Central held Petty to just two first-half points on 1-of-7 shooting.
“We told her to keep her head up because everyone has off days,” Jones said. “She needed to just keep playing her game.”
Petty warmed up in the third quarter, scoring eight in the period. She had five points in Riverdale’s 9-0 run to open the fourth quarter.
“I told her at halftime that she had to get it going,” Barrett said. “She looked at me and said, ‘Yes, sir.’ And it was on.
“Ty Petty is a special player. She plays on emotion. It’s unreal what she’s capable of doing sometimes.”