It was the type of game nationally-ranked Riverdale needed – a close, nail biter in a rowdy gym.
MTSU signee Tyisha Petty rebounded Makayla Timmons’ potential game-tying jump shot, then hit two free throws to help the Lady Warriors edge Columbia 60-56 Tuesday night at Hardy Loyd Gymnasium.
Riverdale, which is ranked sixth nationally by MaxPreps, extended its win streak to 32 with the win.
“They were big (free thows) for us,” said Petty, who finished with 13 points for the Lady Warriors (9-0). “But I wasn’t thinking about that too much. I knew I couldn’t go to the line and think about it too much.”
At one point it didn’t look like it would come down to the wire.
Riverdale went on an 11-0 run late in the first quarter, grabbing a 22-13 lead after Petty’s 3-pointer with 7:11 left in the first half and never relinquished the lead.
But Columbia (6-3) threatened numerous times, continually keeping the Lady Warriors in striking distance.
Shelbie Davenport hit five 3-pointers and finished with 18 points to lead Riverdale. MTSU signee Olivia Jones added 15 with two 3-pointers. Riverdale hit 11 threes as a team, but just one in the fourth quarter.
Aryanna Gilbert, a Lawrence County transfer, led Columbia with 19 points. Her sister, Keiana Gilbert, and teammate Kanytra Bumpus added 13 apiece.
“Columbia is a great team,” Riverdale coach Cory Barrett said. “They’ve had good players, and adding the Gilberts gives them some go-to players when things get bad.”
Columbia cut the deficit to 42-40 with 7.3 seconds left in the third quarter before Jones’ 3-pointer at the buzzer extended it back to five.
The Lady Warriors played through much of the second half in foul trouble. Four of five starters had four fouls midway through the fourth quarter.
“That’s part of the game,” Barrett said. “We found a way to win.”
Foul trouble forced Barrett to go a half-court offense with his players weaving in and out of the lane, looking for layups. Jones’ layup made it 50-44 with 4:25 left. After a Columbia turnover, Davenport hit her fifth 3-pointer to extend it to 53-45. A pair of Petty free throws made it 57-50 with 2:21 left.
But Columbia quieted the Riverdale offense, trimming it to 57-54 on Aryanna Gilbert’s layup with 1:16 left. Bumpus air balled a 3-point attempt into the hands of Riverdale guard Tiffany Lewis.
However, Petty missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Aryanna Gilbert followed with another layup to trim it to 57-56 with 28 seconds left. Davenport then hit 1-of-2 free throws after being fouled with 26.3 seconds left to set up Timmons’ jumper.
“We needed this a lot,” Jones said. “A lot of our players needed a wake-up call. They need to realize everything isn’t going to go our way all of the time.”
Riverdale 60, Columbia 56
Riverdale 18 13 14 15 – 60
Columbia 13 12 15 16 – 56
Riverdale: Davenport 18, Lewis 7, Petty 13, Middleton 4, Jones 15, Heard 3.
Columbia: Timmons 4, Young 2, Bumpus 13, K. Gilbert 13, Cannon 5, A. Gilbert 19.