Hot-shooting Lutcher spoils tourney open for RA

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 12, 2009



RESERVE — Riverside hoped to get off on the right foot in the opener of its tournament on Friday night, but Lutcher’s hot shooting lifted the Bulldogs to a 65-50 victory over the Rebels.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Lutcher’s Tyronica LeBlanc quieted a Riverside rally, extending a nine point Bulldogs lead to 15 late in the fourth quarter.

“Coach said she wanted us to focus. That’s not something we did last season,” said Lutcher’s Essence Peterson, who led the Bulldogs (7-3) with 20 points. “We just pushed it and did exactly what she told us to do tonight.”

Riverside’s (7-5) loss came in spite of point guard Daysha Blount’s 28 points. 19 of those came in the second half.

The Bulldogs led by one after the first quarter, but began to assert themselves from the second quarter on.

The teams were tied at 17 when a putback by Jarquesha Jenkins ignited an 18-6 run to close out the half.

The beginning of the second half wasn’t much kinder to the Rebels. After Kristy Milioto scored for Riverside to make it an 10-point game, Scarlett Harris canned a 3-pointer to push the lead to 13. It sparked a 10-3 run that saw LHS run out to a 45-28 lead as the Rebels struggled with turnovers and missed shots.

It grew to a 23-point advantage at the end of the third quarter when Peterson took an inbounds pass nearly the length of the court with 2.8 seconds left, getting off a high-arcing 3-pointer right before the buzzer that splashed through to make it 53-32.

“We know Riverside’s a well-coached, fundamentally sound team,” said Lutcher coach Renita Graber. “We came out the locker room up by 12, and really wanted to put it away early.”

“They hit some major league shots,” said Riverside coach Chuck Dorvin.

Led by Blount and pressure defense, Riverside would push to cut the lead to single digits. Lutcher led 59-41 when Blount started to take over, first scoring on a drive, then s short jumper. She’d score again in the paint before nailing a 3-pointer from the wing, and all of a sudden Riverside trailed by only nine.

“I felt like I had to take a little more weight on my shoulders as a senior leader,” said Blount.

Said Dorvin: “She hit some big shots for us. But Lutcher just answered with bomb after bomb.”

With a minute remaining, LeBlanc hit a 3-pointer to push the lead to 12. She’d hit another on her team’s ensuing possession.

LeBlanc finished with 13. Brandi Johnson scored 15 for Lutcher.

Milioto scored nine for Riverside.