WOODHULL -- Mick Kopriva still would not give a complete thumbs-up approval based on what he saw in the halfcourt offense, but the Riverdale girls' basketball coach did find some positives.|
First and foremost, the Rams were stingy on defense.
Out of sync in a slower pace, Riverdale used its defense to resurrect its offense on Friday night. Forcing turnovers allowed the Rams to score at will in the open court, carrying them to a 52-16 win over Bushnell-Prairie City-Avon in the Ridgewood Thanksgiving Tournament at Walt Minder Gym.
Riverdale (2-0) forced 32 turnovers as it clinched at least a share of the tournament title.
"I was happy with our defense. It was excellent," Kopriva said. "The fast-break points are good, but I'm a little concerned that once we didn't get the fast break, our offense really didn't click at all. When we were in our halfcourt offense, it wasn't good. It's a good thing we've got something going for us right now."
Offensive rhythm will come, but teams can build upon stifling defensive efforts. Riverdale held the Spartans (0-2) to eight points in the final three quarters and 23.3 percent (7-of-30) shooting for the game.
Any path Bushnell-Prairie City-Avon had toward the basket was disrupted by the fleet feet and quick hands the Rams had all night.
"We really have a great defense," Riverdale senior guard Elle May said.
It allowed the Rams to overcome some spotty offensive play. Whenever Riverdale forced a turnover, it quickly converted the miscues into points with the fast-break offense using 10 assists to snag 20 points.
When it was not having free lanes to the basket, Riverdale struggled in a set offense. The Rams did hit 20 of its 47 shot attempts, but most of the field goals were made on the run.
Kopriva knows the defense will continue, but he wants to see the offense produce when it is forced to play a halfcourt game.
"That's going to come with a couple more practices," Kopriva said. "It will come."
May had a game-high 18 points, Sydney Mericle added 13 and Hannah Nimrick finished with nine rebounds, five blocks and four steals.
Monmouth-Roseville 44, Ridgewood 34: The Titans (1-1) turned a slim halftime advantage into a somewhat comfortable victory by limiting Ridgewood to 11 second-half points. Before that, Monmouth-Roseville held a 27-23 lead.
"In the first half, we kept putting them on the (foul) line," said Monmouth-Roseville coach Jim Cole, who received 14 points from Jordain Johnson and 11 from Katie Staley. "We probably played just as well defensively in the first half, but we kept fouling them. We talked about not fouling and staying in gaps. Without them fouling, that helped us out."
On the other end, Ridgewood (1-1) simply could not make shots. The Spartans opened the second half with a 5-minute scoring drought that ended when Morgan Green converted an uncontested layup,. slicing the deficit to 33-25.
Ridgewood, which went 13 of 48 from the field and committed 22 turnovers, never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.
"We couldn't hit shots," Ridgewood coach Bryan Brooks. " ... Our offense affected our attitudes a little bit. We couldn't find ways to score. We got timid."
Anytime the Spartans did hit a shot and whittled the deficit into single digits, Monmouth-Roseville would answer each time with a basket that usually was within five feet of the rim.
"We tried pushing the ball," Cole said. "It all turned out well."
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