MURFREESBORO — New coach. Same expectations.
Riverdale opened up the Randy Coffman era Tuesday night with a 60-54 win over Hamilton Heights at Johnny Parsley Memorial Gymnasium.
“He’s new to the program,” said Riverdale senior Caroline Patrick, a Palm Beach Atlantic signee, “We thought, ‘Let’s show him what Riverdale is about.’ He comes from a good program at Dyersburg.”
Coffman spent 17 seasons at Dyersburg before coming to Riverdale. He replaced Cory Barrett.
Hamilton Heights is a non-TSSAA private school located in Chattanooga.
Brinae Alexander’s layup sparked a 7-0 run early in the first quarter to give the Lady Warriors (1-0) a 10-4 lead. Riverdale never relinquished the lead.
“I think we played pretty well,” Riverdale junior Anastasia Hayes said. “All I knew is that we wanted to beat them because everyone was saying they were the No. 1 team in Tennessee.”
Alexis Whittington led Riverdale with 17 points. Hayes added 15 points, and Patrick hit three 3-pointers for nine.
Riverdale hit eight 3-pointers in the game.
“Coach Coffman really emphasizes that,” said Patrick of the 3-pointers. “He wants us shooting 20 to 30 a game. Obviously, we haven’t hit that point yet, but it’s something we’re going to really stress this year.”
Whittington’s 3-pointer gave Riverdale a 54-43 lead midway through the fourth quarter and appeared to give the Lady Warriors control of the game.
But the Lady Hawks (1-1) trimmed it to a two-possession game thanks to a 7-0 run. Jazmine Massengill’s two free throws made it 54-50 with 1:49 left.
Elizabeth Balogun led Hamilton Heights with 19 points. Massengill added 13, and Amber Hunt had 10.
Coffman said Hamilton Height’s offensive rebounding allowed them too many second chances.
“I think that’s the strength of their team,” Coffman said. “They exploited that obviously we’re not strong around the basket. They did a really good job of crashing the boards and stopping runs that we were having by getting second-chance opportunities. It’s an area we have to get better at.
“But I’m really pleased about how our kids shared the ball with each other. And we shot the ball really well.”
Eight different players scored for Riverdale.
Reach Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 and on Twitter @Kreager.
Riverdale 60, Hamilton Heights 54
Hamilton Heights 11 9 15 19 – 54
Riverdale 14 20 12 14 – 60
Hamilton Heights: Jazmine Massengill 13, Elizabeth Balogun 19, Juliet Onome Esadan 4, Akia Harris 8, Amber Hunt 10
Riverdale: Jasmine Hurd 2, Annastasia Hayes 15, Amanda Whittington 6, Alexis Whittington 17, Brinae Alexander 2, Alli Mayeux 8, Caroline Patrick 9, Dejah Messenger 1.