The No. 1-ranked Riverdale Lady Warriors remained undefeated, but the visiting Siegel Lady Stars didn’t go down without a fight on Friday night.
The Lady Warriors’ strong interior defense made the difference in the second half, as Riverdale defeated Siegel 61-42.
At first, it looked like it was going to be another blowout victory for Riverdale (18-0, 3-0). Its full-court pressure defense forced early Siegel turnovers, and the Lady Warriors built a 17-4 lead in the first quarter.
Alexa Middleton led the charge early on with 11 first-quarter points, 22 overall, to lead the Lady Warriors. She also had two 3-pointers. Ty Petty had three 3-pointers in the first half, 20 points overall, to boost Riverdale.
Then the Lady Stars started beating the press and getting the ball into the frontcourt for fast break opportunities and layups.
“We spent a lot of time on that the last couple of days,” said Siegel coach Alan Bush. “I thought we did a good job of not rushing. We slowed down, took our time (beating the press).”
Additionally, the Lady Stars got the ball in the paint to Ashley Daniels and Erica Rober, who created havoc by driving to the basket and creating opportunities. Daniels had eight in the first half to lead Siegel, and Roberts had five. The Lady Stars (11-7, 0-3) chipped away at the lead and had it down to seven by the half, 33-26.
“I thought they got a lot of offensive rebounds which gave them momentum,” said Riverdale coach Cory Barrett. “I thought the offensive rebounding was key for them in the first half. I thought we played as poorly as we’ve played in a while. That’s a credit to Siegel, as well, they made us play poorly.”
Then Siegel scored the first basket of the second half and cut the gap to five, 33-28. It was at five again after the teams exchanged 3-pointers.
But that was as close as Siegel managed to get. Riverdale focused more on their interior defense and challenged the Lady Stars’ shots in the post, forcing turnovers and missed shots that Siegel had made in the first half. They also missed some layups which would have kept them in the game.
“We did make some adjustments at halftime, and that was to go back to Lady Warrior basketball. We started doing things the right way,” said Barrett.
Riverdale outsored Siegel 10-2 to close out the third quarter and go up 46-33. The Lady Warriors’ lead increased to 20 in the fourth quarter, as they outscored Siegel 8-1 to start the fourth quarter.
Siegel 94, Riverdale 39
For the first six minutes, it was a competitive game between No. 6-ranked Siegel and host Riverdale. The score was tied 12-12.
Then the Stars turned up their full-court pressure defense and turned it into a rout.
The Stars outscored Riverdale 25-2 from that point and took a 37-14 lead.
Fifteen of Siegel’s 20 first-quarter points were from 3-pointers.
Aden Burton had 22 to lead the Stars, who improved to 18-1, 3-0 in District 7-AAA.
Charles Clark had 19, Ryan Jones scored 16, and Robert Brandon had 15 for Siegel.