Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012, 9:54 pm

Quick transition to hoops no problem as Rams roll in opener

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By Terry Duckett, tduckett@qconline.com

WOODHULL -- Two days of practice to transition from volleyball to basketball? No problem for the Riverdale Rams.

Just four days after Riverdale secured third place at the IHSA Class 2A State Volleyball Tournament in Normal, several members of that team opened the girls' roundball season Wednesday evening here at the Ridgewood Thanksgiving Tournament.

Although some rust showed, the Rams had little trouble as senior forward Hannah Nimrick posted a double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds and senior guard Elle May led the defense with six steals in a 51-38 victory over Monmouth-Roseville at Walt Minder Gymnasium.

"I'm a little out of shape going from volleyball to basketball, which is non-stop running, and I knew my defense would be a little off,'' said May, who also netted 13 points. "Getting six steals helped. It really didn't take much time to go from volleyball to basketball, although my shot will still take awhile to come around.

"Getting back into basketball is a habit. I play three sports (including track and field), so I've got to learn to switch fast and just keep on going.''

Nimrick scored 16 of her game-high 21 points in the first half, including an 11-point second quarter that enabled the Rams to stretch a 10-point lead after the first quarter to 28-8 by halftime. Entering the fourth period, Riverdale held a commanding 45-20 advantage as Lauren Claus chipped in with 10 points.

"We came out a little shaky at first, just getting used to the court and our surroundings, because we hadn't played here (in a year),'' said Nimrick. "My teammates helped me to get open, and to get me the ball. We're hoping to come out of here 3-0, and hopefully by the end of the week, Elle, Sydney (Mericle) and myself should be in basketball mode.''

The Titans did pick up their pace in the second half, as Jordain Johnson (10 points, eight rebounds) and Colleen Judge (14 points, nine boards, four steals) both just missed double-doubles. Mon-Rose outscored the Rams 30-23 in the second half, but the final 13-point margin was as close as it got after halftime.

Spartans also open strong: In Wednesday's nightcap at AlWood High School, tournament host Ridgewood wasted no time in making a statement. The Spartans grabbed a 15-point lead after the first quarter and rolled to a 60-27 victory over their namesakes from Bushnell-Prairie City-Avon.

Ridgewood used its outside shooting to open up its inside game. Junior guard Ashley Collins knocked down three of the Spartans' six 3-pointers en route to a game-high 16 points. Jasmine Jefko paced the interior attack with 12 points, while teammate Madison Miller chipped in with 11 points.

"We've talked about if our shooters can hit their shots, then we're going to be successful, because we have the size inside,'' said Ridgewood coach Bryan Brooks."It shocked me how well we shot the ball, and we played defense very well. To play this well in the first game, I'm very happy. We've preached all summer and over two weeks of practice that we've got to come ready to play every night. We can't afford not to.''

Ridgewood grabbed a 21-6 lead after the opening period and stretched it to 34-10 by halftime as Collins scored nine of her points in the first half.