Rebels drop Greenies, 48-28

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Millet scores 20 in win; St. James halts RA comeback attempt, Jeffery scores 27 in Wildcats’ win


Sports Editor

It’s been a long time since Riverside’s Lady Rebels have been to the state basketball playoffs – the last time, in fact, was in 2003.

But if the Rebels can maintain the success they’ve had through the first round of district play, 2008 will mark their return.

Marci Millet scored 20 points to lead Riverside as it defeated host Newman on Thursday, 48-28.

The win meant that the Rebels (8-14, 3-2) finished its first round of district play over .500, which is significant for two reasons.

The first is that it places the Rebels third in district 10-2A, behind St. James and John Curtis, which would entitle them to a playoff position if the postseason started today.

The second is that all five district games so far have come on the road — meaning their next five will come at Riverside.

“We’re excited to be where we are,” said Riverside Coach Kristy Hebert. “Having the next five at home certainly gives the girls more confidence.”

Jessica Price scored 10 for the Rebels, while Sarah Levin added nine.

Riverside pressured Newman from the start, forcing the Greenies (2-12, 1-2) into turnovers and sparking the Rebels to a 17-4 lead after a quarter.

From there, Riverside held the momentum, leading by double digits the entire way.

Newman was only able to crack double digits in one quarter: the second, where the Greenies scored 11.

“Our defensive effort was very good,” said Hebert. “To hold them to only 28 points was big for us. We’re finally playing how we should defensively.”

On Tuesday, the results were different as Riverside fell at St. James, 66-42. But the final score didn’t indicate how close the game was at times.

A Levin fourth-quarter 3-pointer cut what had been a 17 point second half deficit to three. But St. James was able to answer and push ahead again.

The Wildcats (21-7, 5-0) made their foul shots in the late stages of the game to take a comfortable margin of victory.

Millet scored eight of her team-high 14 points during that fourth quarter push.

“I was really proud of the way they played,” said Hebert. “We missed 14 free-throws and seven uncontested layups in the first half. I just stressed to them at halftime, if we make half of those, we could have been leading the game.”

Brandy Jeffery scored 26 points to lead the Wildcats.

Brittany Schoen scored 12 and Levin scored nine for Riverside.

A major key, said Hebert, was her players’ refusal to get caught up in a running, up-and-down game with the athletic Wildcats.

“(The Wildcats) are very fast,” said Hebert. “They run the floor extremely well. Our kids played great in that they wouldn’t get caught up in it.”

Hebert said that even in a loss, she sees the St. James effort as potentially a pivotal point in the season.

“My kids hung in the whole time and saw that they could face a team like that and be successful if they play the full game,” Hebert said.

Now, with Riverside only a year removed from going winless in district play and only having seven players on roster, Hebert has 17 rostered players that have already made this season more of a success than last.

“It’s not just having a deeper team on gameday, but it’s so helpful in practice,” said Hebert, who has used seven different starting lineups this season. “Everyone pushes one another in practice to be better and better. It teaches you how to compete on a daily basis.”