By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
Riverside girls basketball coach Brindi Kandel and her team were in search of that one signature game to get them over the hill.
That game may have come in a 48-42 victory over Jefferson at Falcon Gymnasium on Saturday night.
“That was the kind of grind-it-out, fight for everything road win we needed,” Kandel said. “We hit our shots down the stretch. We did a good job taking care of the ball. We’ve been working on composure and I think you saw that down the stretch.”
The Beavers (7-6, 3-4 in Premier Athletic Conference) what could have been a devstating blow and used it to pull away from the Falcons (5-6).
Senior guard Kortlynn Carr got tangled up in a spirited battle for a rebound with a Jefferson player and received a technical foul. On the ensuing possession, she picked up her fourth foul and went to the bench with 6:02 to play in the third quarter.
Instead of giving Jefferson the opening it needed to gain the advantage, it spurred the Beavers to fight a little harder.
“I thought it was (the turning point) as well,” Kandel said. “It was off of an aggressive play. The girls were battling at both ends and being aggressive.
“I told the girls that was their cue to buckle down, play aggressively and get boards. (The technical) angered them a little.”
At the point Carr sat down, Riverside led by a point, 30-29. The Beavers steadily built a nine-point advantage, 42-33, by the start of the fourth.
“I think Abbey Militello and Ashley Plassard did a good job,” Kandel said. “They went in and we didn’t lose anything as far as intensity on defense. They played through adversity.”
“They had other people go in and pick up for her,” Jefferson coach Rod Holmes said. “You’ve got to give them credit.
“(Carr) does handle the ball well. (Alexis Parsons) took over handling the ball. She did a nice job. That was a case of a good player picked up another good player.
“It wasn’t necessarily the one coming in the game, but the one who was already in there.”
Even in a loss, the Falcons can use the battle as a stepping stone.
“I’ll be honest,” Holmes said. “I think we played better tonight than we did the other night and it was a 20-point win Thursday (56-36 over Liberty).
“There’s a lot we need to work on — free throws, obviously, and we turned it over out front and they usually took it in for a layup. I think they had six or eight points in the first half on turnovers out front.”
Though both teams had 20 turnovers, the Beavers were able to make the Falcons’ hurt a bit more at times.
“They were making passes that led to layups (off the turnovers),” Holmes said. “When turnovers happen out front, you can’t defend against it. They get the steal and come out in a dead run.
“Again, their turnovers weren’t out front. We were knocking it away on the inside.”
Jefferson was just 9 of 23 from the charity stripe.
“We got down 11 or 12 and cut it back to six,” Holmes said. “I wish we wouldn’t have gotten down that far. In the end, we were getting our foul shots. That would’ve made it closer. We didn’t knock then down.
“That’s something I still believe is going to click. I think part of that right now is mental and when they gain the confidence in it, it will turn some games around.”
Parsons netted 17 points and five steals and Katie Klingman had 11 points and 18 boards for the Beavers. Megan Carabotta netted 11 points and Carr had five assists.
Sarah Busch paced Jefferson with 17 points, LeeAnn Farr scored 14 points nad Ariann Barile chipped in with 10 rebounds.”
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.