Top-ranked Riverdale clashes with No. 2 Blaze

Top-ranked Riverdale clashes with No. 2 Blaze

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Top-ranked Riverdale clashes with No. 2 Blaze

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MURFREESBORO

The state’s best will meet tonight at Blackman High for a girls basketball contest.

Yes, it’s just another Friday night in the ‘Boro.

Top-ranked Riverdale (18-0 overall, 3-0 in 7-AAA) faces second-ranked Blackman (18-0, 3-0) at 6 p.m. in a third consecutive week of two nationally-ranked Murfreesboro girls basketball teams playing each other.

Riverdale defeated Oakland 63-46 two weeks ago. Blackman defeated Oakland 46-28 a week ago.

Currently, Riverdale is ranked second nationally by MaxPreps, Blackman is ranked ninth and Oakland, which is ranked fifth in the Associated Press statewide poll, is ranked 24th by MaxPreps.

“For us, it’s just another test,” Riverdale first-year coach Cory Barrett said. “Blackman has a great team and a great program.

“We’re taking this as it is our next step. They are the next step after (Smyrna on Thursday). Our kids have been in a lot of big games.”

Riverdale owns an 11-3 advantage over Blackman since the 2008-09 season. All three of those losses have come in games played at Blackman, including two postseason games.

The location of the game means little to Barrett.

“They have two goals, there is one basketball, and one team will put it in the basket more than the other one,” he said. “That’s all I know. You can’t get caught up in the past. You can’t look at the future. You have to play within the moment and situation.”

MTSU signee Tyisha Petty leads Riverdale at 15.4 points a game and 3.9 assists. Teammate Alexa Middleton averages 15.2 points and 3.8 assists. MTSU signee Olivia Jones (14.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg) is expected to play despite leaving the Lady Warriors’ game with Siegel due to a knee injury.

Barrett said the injury wasn’t serious, and Jones has practiced since the injury.

Jones will be needed against the Lady Blaze’s strong post game of Alex Johnson (14.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and Jazz Bond (9.2 ppg 5.9 rpg).

“(Johnson and Bond) do a good job running the floor,” Blackman coach Chad Hibdon said. “When they do that, that’s a big factor for us. When we are in our half court (offense), we want to get them both touches and take advantages of mismatches. They have got five guards basically. Our (post players) have to get touches.”

Freshman point guard Crystal Dangerfield is off to a strong start, averaging 14.8 points and 3.6 assists a game. However, this will mark her first game against Riverdale and its full-court pressure.

“You are going to play faster than you normally do, because that’s what they do,” Hibdon said. “We need to play with a calmness, and realize that they are going to turn you over a few times. It’s their deal.

“But they are not afraid to give up a few easy ones. Four our group, it depends on how quick we adjust to their speed.”

La Vergne (13-6, 2-1) hosts fifth-ranked Siegel (18-1, 3-0) in the biggest District 7-AAA boys game. La Vergne defeated Siegel two of three times this past season en route to a Class AAA sectional appearance.

“That was last year,” Siegel coach Ben Dotson said. “We beat them the first time last year. But last year we peaked too early. This team is focused on the team that we are playing.”

Charles Sutton (14.6 ppg) and Marquis Johns (14.5 ppg) lead the Wolverines. Robert Brandon (19.3 ppg) and Charles Clark (16.3 ppg) lead the Stars. Brandon and Clark are the top two scorers in 7-AAA this season.

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