Crescents rally past Rebels in 2nd half

Published 11:45 pm Friday, December 21, 2012


RESERVE — Behind a suffocating defense and an offense that had finally kicked into high gear by first half’s end, Riverside seemed well on its way to a statement victory over visiting Cabrini in a Thursday night girls basketball game.

But the Crescents refused to accept defeat. Cabrini grinded its way back from a 24-11 halftime deficit to take a 43-41 lead on Erin Temple’s 3-pointer with 1:01 left in regulation before going on to secure a 46-41 victory at Riverside.

Cabrini pounded the ball into the paint and got Riverside into the penalty early in the second half; the Crescents shot 17 free throws in the fourth quarter alone and 25 overall in the second half.

“We really stressed attacking them aggressively at halftime. The way the officials were calling  the game, we thought we could get them in foul trouble,” said Cabrini coach Nancy Walsh. “We were able to do that last year (in a win over Riverside), so we wanted to go back to what worked.”

It’s only the second loss of the season for Riverside (12-2), which won Cabrini’s tournament two weeks ago.

“In the second half, we got away from the way we needed to play,” said Riverside coach Kristy Hebert. “And I have to say it, we had some people go out there with the wrong things on their mind, that played selfishly. We didn’t play as a team.

“(Cabrini) never stopped scrapping. They just outhustled us. I’m very disappointed.”

Katie Burnett scored 14 points to lead Cabrini 98-5). Temple added 12.

Riverside’s Kendra Turner led all scorers with 16 points. Kelsey Joseph scored 11 and Channan Simmons added six.

Both teams struggled offensively to begin the game. The score was tied 2-2 through the midway point of the first quarter, which ended with Riverside holding an 8-4 advantage.

The Rebels led 14-11 before exploding for 10 straight points in the final 2:22 of the second quarter. Simmons kickstarted things by hitting one of two free throws and then slashing into the lane for a layup. A Joseph driving layup made it 19-11, then she upped the lead to 11 when she scored in the lane and drew a foul off of a feed from Turner. Joseph hit the free throw. Simmons capped off the half with another bucket in the lane to give the Rebels a 13-point halftime lead.

“For 95 percent of the game, I didn’t think we played as a team. But for the five percent that we did there, that’s when we built that lead,” said Hebert.

Cabrini started to quickly climb back into the game in the third quarter. Kelsey Pinera hit a jumper from the wing, then Temple hit a jumper. Burnett scored to make it 24-17. With Riverside leading 26-19, Temple connected on a 3 from the corner.

“We just changed our attitudes,” said Temple. “In the first half, we didn’t have the focus we needed.”

At the other end, Turner went to work for the Rebels, scoring inside on a layup and then a putback to make it 30-23. Burnett hit a pair of free throws to make it a five-point game at the end of three quarters.

Riverside led 33-25 after a Turner layup, then 35-28 on Jaimaya Bolden’s score inside. Back to back Turner buckets gave Riverside a 39-33 lead.

But Cabrini began a parade to the foul line in the final 3:25 of play. Temple hit a free throw, then Burnett canned another to make it 39-35. Turner scored inside to make it 41-35, but Riverside wouldn’t score again.

Temple hit one of two at the line, then she drew another foul and sank two to make it 41-38.

Burnett found herself open for a midrange jumper and sank it to draw the Crescents within one. Then came Temple’s 3, a jumper from the wing that gave Cabrini the momentum for good. A Temple free throw pushed Cabrini ahead by three; Riverside wouldn’t get off a shot to tie when Temple made a steal then converted the layup to make it 46-41. Riverside missed four free throws within the last 30 seconds, and Cabrini earned the victory.

“We knew we were the underdogs tonight and that we needed this game,” said Temple.