Aloha from Johnny Parsley Memorial Gymnasium?
The Riverdale girls opened District 7-AAA play Monday night with an 82-62 win over visiting Smyrna, and left the court with leisaround their necks. It was a surprise from the school’s cheerleaders as the basketball team flies to Hawai’i today for the ‘Iolani Prep Classic in Honolulu.
“It’s our way to celebrate what’s going on and wish them luck,” Riverdale cheerleading coach Brooke Wyant said. “It’s the traditional way of saying welcome to Hawaii. It’s a huge opportunity for our basketball team and very well earned.”
“We know that we’re going to have the support from our entire school, and it’s good to know that they care that we’re leaving and I’m sure they wish they could go,” Shelbie Davenport said of the surprise. “But it’s good to know that they care about us and are cheering us on while we’re out there.”
While the countdown had been on to Honolulu, Lady Warriors coach Corey Barrett had to put the kibosh on that in order for his squad to get focused on district game No. 1.
“He told us not to be posting anything about (Hawaii) because we knew this was a district game. It’s a very important one since it’s the first one and we needed to be focused,” said Alexa Middleton, who was 9-of-14 from the free throw line, added two 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 31 points. “We’re still going to be excited. But for teenage girls, I think we did a good job of trying to stay focused.”
Davenport and Mattie Cantrell scored 13 apiece for the Lady Warriors.
The Lady Warriors (7-1, 1-0 in 7-AAA) doubled up the Lady Bulldogs (24-12) after one quarter and held a 47-26 lead at the break. Smyrna (6-3, 0-1) won the second half 36-35.
On many a night 62 would be good enough for a win, it is what Smyrna is averaging on the season after all. However, coach Shawn Middleton said keeping 82 off the board would have been much more beneficial than trying to keep pace with Riverdale.
“Defense has to come first and we didn’t keep anybody in front of us tonight,” he said. “I think we scored enough points … but you can’t forget the defensive part of your game.”
Tyra Hughes paced Smyrna with 11 points.
Smyrna 73, Riverdale 63: The Bulldogs opened district play with a road victory, turning a five-point first-quarter lead into a 13-point halftime lead.
Mykale Repress scored all 10 of his points in the first half. Jaylen Johnson and Desmond Davis each had seven in the first half for Smyrna (5-2, 1-0).
Riverdale (3-5, 0-1) dropped in 10 3-pointers for the game, including four from Brad Woodson on his way to team-high 16. Johnathan Mathews and Steven Wilson each had two 3s.
Gonda Ameri led Smyrna with 14.
Riverdale 82, Smyrna 62
S 12 14 18 18 — 62
R 24 23 22 13 — 82
S-Blanchard 4, Gaines 2, Bowden 2, Hunt 7, Bolton 7, McIntyre 5, Clark 2, Alexander 9, Brady 8, Neal 4, Hughes 11.
R-Alexa Middleton 31, Shelbie Davenport 13, Mattie Cantrell 13, Pendergrass 9, Heard 3, Alley 6, Patrick 7.
Smyrna 73, Riverdale 63
S 19 23 16 15 — 73
R 14 15 11 23 — 63
S-Mosby 1, Desmond Davis 10, Vanderbilt 9, Jaylen Johnson 11, Mulligan 7, Mykale Repress 10, Gonda Ameri 14, Ferrell 9, Haralson 2.
R-Brad Woodson 16, Steven Wilson 13, Duff 4, Campbell 6, Mathews 6, Tyler Smithson 15, Bell 1, Berge 2.