The Lovett Lions are one of the top girls basketball teams in Georgia, but they were no match for the Riverdale Lady Warriors Friday night.
The undefeated Lady Warriors (11-0) defeated the Lions (7-4) 78-39 in the State Farm Classic.
A fast start was the key to the Lady Warriors’ success as they scored 10 straight unanswered points to take an early 10-2 lead. Their full-court defense and the offensive production of Tiffany Lewis and Tyisha Petty proved to the difference.
Lovett couldn’t handle Riverdale’s intense defensive full-court pressure, committing 11 first-quarter turnovers, and Riverdale turned the turnovers into fast break opportunities. Riverdale outscored Lovett 14-4, then outscored them again 14-4, to take a 28-8 lead at the end of the quarter.
“I thought we came out tonight with our best defensive effort of the year,” said Riverdale coach Cory Barrett. “We came out with a lot of energy. We were reacting, we were moving, we were cutting passing lanes, we were crashing boards. The stuff that champions are supposed to do, is what we did in the first half.”
Lewis connected on 2-of-3 from behind the 3-point line in the first quarter, 4-of-6 for the game and scored 21 points overall.
“Tiffany has really picked up on all aspects of her game,” said Barrett. “We know coming in that she can score the basketball. She has really bought into the defensive end, and really running the breaks, and getting the rebounds for us. That’s really made a difference for our team.”
Petty scored 11 first-quarter points, many of them from turnovers, and had 20 overall for Riverdale.
“Ty is going to bring it,” said Barrett. “She’s about 5-foot-5, but her heart’s about 8-foot-five.”
The Lady Warriors upped the lead to 50-20 at the half, outscoring Lovett 15-0 at one stretch in the second quarter.
“Olivia (Jones), Alexa (Middleton), Shelbie (Davenport) – all of them – everybody that played contributed,” said Barrett. “It was a total team effort tonight.”
Princeton signee Taylor Brown led the Lions with 13 points. Virginia signee Sydney Umeri had nine points. Carrie Mutombo, the daughter of former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo, didn’t score.
The Lady Warriors will go up against undefeated Science Hill tonight at 7 in the State Farm Classic. The Lady Warriors defeated Science Hill in the AAA state championship game last year.
Lovett 8 12 9 10 — 39
Riverdale 28 22 18 11 — 78
Lovett – Taylor Brown 13, Victoria Powell 11, Umeri 9, Graves 2, Selman 2, Eason 2.
Riverdale – Tiffany Lewis 21, Tyisha Petty 20, Alexa Middleton 11, Jones 8, Davenport 7, Heard 5, Alley 4, Greeson 2.