Lady Rebels edge Lady Saints 68-53

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 8, 2002


RESERVE – The Lady Rebels took to the court and took the win, 68-53, against St. Martin’s Episcopal Wednesday night. The Lady Rebels used a more aggressive approach for their second district game, which resulted in control of the ball on both sides of the court and consequently, the scoreboard.

“I think they played well, especially considering the break they had since Dec. 22,” commented Riverside coach Sheremy Dillard. The Lady Rebels allowed only six Saints’ points in the first quarter and outscored them 33-11 at the half, before allowing a substantial comeback in the third quarter.

Dillard said the district win was another step to achieving one of the Lady Rebels’ goals, winning the district championship.

“This is a lot of pressure for this team because they have never been in this position, but they want to taste it,” Dillard continued. She said her team will take the season one game at a time, but sees the upcoming game versus Newman as the “hump” to get over. “Then we will see where we are at, but I don’t want us to sleep until then,” she added.

Wednesday’s game started on a rough note when Riverside grabbed the tip off, but two minutes and a couple possessions later, the Saints had the first points on the board after a three-point shot. The Lady Rebels made up the difference with a basket and one successful foul shot from the play.

Setting the aggressive tone, Riverside jumped to a full-court press, balanced by strong blocking in the paint to hold back the Saints scoring.

The Lady Rebels raised their lead 14-5, after a three-point shot by Crystal Rome with two minutes left in the first quarter.

Both teams were scrambling for rebounds, which were mostly from the Saints’ missed shots, but Riverside continued to pull the ball away and keep control of the ball. One of these rebound attempts under the goal set six girls reaching and put one player from St. Martin’s to the foul line. The one shot gave the Saints their sixth and last point of the quarter. The buzzer sounded as a Lady Rebel and a Saint slid across the three point line on their knees and back, each holding the ball.

It took St. Martin’s two and a half minutes and a trip to the foul line to bump their score up another point to seven, while Riverside added another three goals and six points in the same time. Only 30 seconds later, Rome was on the taking end of a foul and was awarded the basket, giving the Lady Rebels another three points.

The Lady Rebels gave up their first basket in about six minutes when a Saint dropped in a three-point shot. Riverside allowed only one more successful shot, from the foul line, before closing the first half with their 33-11 lead.

“We sent them to the free throw line a bit and that’s where 17 of their points came from,” said Dillard. “But that’s because we were aggressive. When you press like that, you get more calls.”

Rome helped lead the Lady Rebels’ charge, quickly stealing St. Martin’s first possession for a fast break and two points. The Saints came fighting back though, matching the Lady Rebels score-for-score with much more accurate shooting. More steals and a seven-point scoring drive kept the momentum leaning towards Riverside and with three minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Lady Rebels held the lead by 24 points, 47-23.

The next Riverside shot stopped the game, as Rome dropped in her 2,000th career point with a three-point shot. Riverside’s score stayed at 50, while St. Martin’s finally broke from their 20-point deficit in the last two minutes, finishing 50-32.

“We just kept sending them to the free throw line,” said Dillard. “But you also have to give St. Martin’s some credit, they stepped it up in the third quarter.”

Riverside welcomed the fourth quarter with another steal and on next their next possession, dropped in three points.

The Lady Rebels continued stealing away the ball and even more points for their growing lead, while the Saints’ pace grew slower. With little more than three minutes left in the game, the Lady Rebels stretched their lead to almost 30 points, 66-39. A three-point shot and two points from the foul line gave St. Martin’s a small boost, but they continued to play the remainder of the game much like the first quarter, fighting for the ball and making few goals. St. Martin’s only effective defense came in the final two minutes when the Saints implemented a full-court threat. Riverside couldn’t fully adjust to St. Martin’s physical press and sent the Saints to frequent trips to the foul line.

The few shots the Saints made were not enough to overcome the Lady Rebels’ stronghold and time ran out with Riverside ahead 68-53.