Lady Bruins fall to country's No. 1 team
By Marcus Stone, Sports Editor
The defending Class AAA girls champion Riverdale Lady Warriors proved too tough for Brentwood in the TSSAA’s BlueCross Basketball Championship quarterfinals as the Lady Bruins fell 83-37 Wednesday morning on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University.
Brentwood coach Ronnie Seigenthaler knew when the brackets were announced Saturday his team got a rough draw, being placed against the No. 1 team in the country as ranked by ESPN.
“We needed a perfect storm,” the coach said in his postgame press conference. “Unfortunately, we ran into the perfect storm. They were firing on all cylinders at 10 a.m.”
Riverdale (33-0), who came into the contest on a 55-game win streak, was aggressive on defense for the entirety of the 32-minute game. The Lady Warriors had 22 steals in the contest and forced an additional 10 turnovers.
“There were several situations they put us in where there was no out,” Seigenthaler said. “We’ve got skilled players or we wouldn’t be here, but simulating that in practice was next to impossible.”
The Lady Warriors gave Brentwood no time to rest, pressing full court the majority of the game on defense and taking every opportunity on offense to get fast break baskets.
Brentwood (22-12) came into the game with goals to control tempo and limit second attempts – things difficult to do against the No. 1 team in the country.
“We went into it knowing it was going to be a challenge,” point guard Olivia Shealy said. “We worked really hard in practice. I was confident in our scheme but we just didn’t execute the way we wanted to.”
The Lady Bruins played a 3-2 zone defense throughout – a first of the season according to Shealy – in order to limit Riverdale’s perimeter shooting. That proved unsuccessful as the Lady Warriors sunk 12 3-pointers.
Olivia Jones was 4-of-6 from behind the arc on her way to 20 points while Tiffany Lewis was 4-of-7 on her way to a game-high 23 points for Riverdale.
Their opponents’ size was not an issue for Brentwood but rather their speed and aggressiveness. The Lady Bruins struggled to break the press – as well as secure rebounds.
“They’re not big,” post Millie Tunnell said. “What they lack in size they make up for in speed. It’s hard to move the ball.”
Brentwood stayed competitive early, trailing Riverdale 18-10 after the first quarter. The Lady Warriors proved relentless though and displayed the capability to score in spurts.
“I thought there were peaks and valleys within that first quarter and we felt good,” Seigenthaler said. “Not about the deficit – but about the opportunities to stay true to as far as execution and scheme.”
Riverdale quickly got a double-digit lead in the second period and upped it to 20 points by halftime with balanced scoring from Alexa Middleton and Jones.
Senior Paige Parker ended the game as the Lady Bruins’ leading scorer with 11 points – playing 27-of-32 minutes. Shealy added eight points in 25 minutes while H.C. Lackey contributed six points in 25 minutes.
Photos by Reed Galin / firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on: 3/6/2013