Girls basketball: Riverview finds the right pace

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Wed. January 25, 2012 | Laura Keeley | Email

TAMPA — Riverview, whose fast-paced offense averages 66 points , came into Tuesday’s  game against Plant with a plan: slow the tempo .

The result? A defense-dominated 47-39 win in which the Sharks were able to keep the Panthers’ offense out of sorts .

“They were changing our shots,” said Plant coach Carrie Mahon, who had her team prepare for the game by scrimmaging the Panthers JV boys team. “Nine of our 23 shots in the first half were from 3, and we ended with 20 3-point attempts. That’s just not us.”

Plant (18-3) was forced to take those outside shots because it could not consistently penetrate Riverview’s zone defense. The Panthers were forced to employ a 2-3 zone  after the opening six minutes , during which the Sharks (19-3) scored at will against Plant’s man-to-man.

After spotting Riverview a 12-point  lead in those first six minutes, the Panthers slowly  shrunk the deficit until they took the lead for the

first time on a Nicole Sivyer jump shot that made it 31-30 with 7:30 remaining .

Riverview responded with a 9-0 run over the next 2:17, keyed by  Jaitesha Hanson’s jumper and 3-point play off  a drive and converted free throw . Hanson finished with a game-high 27  and was 9-of-10 from the free-throw line.

“The game is all about ups and downs, runs,” said Sharks junior Faith Woodard, who added 12 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and four steals. “We just tried to keep it together.”

For Riverview, which was already missing starting point guard Madison Greany with a broken arm before losing guard Monet Williams to an ACL injury, it was an opportunity to test its new lineup  before the district tournament.

Freshman point guard Asia Royster, who started the year on the JV team, was able to  find cutting teammates who  finished with layups against Plant’s zone.

“It was a learning game for us,” Sharks coach Lelani Gordon said. “I was pleased we could execute a slow-down game when that’s really not our style of basketball.”

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