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Riverside girls have special night

Feb. 23—The Riverside High girls enjoyed a special night Wednesday in front of their home crowd.

The No. 2 Warriors took control from the get-go en route to a 55-27 defeat of No. 3 South Charleston in the first round of the Class AAAA Region 3, Section 1 basketball tournament, and they made some history in the process.

According to head coach John Frisby, the victory marked the first time the RHS girls hosted a postseason basketball game, and it was the first section tournament win for the Warriors, he noted.

"Last year we went to South Charleston and lost in the sectional game by six, so for us this was kind of a bittersweet makeup for that," Frisby said. "It feels good. It's nice to get it, not just for us but for the girls.

"Now, they're part of history. Their names will always be part of the first girls team to ever host and win a sectional game at Riverside. It's very good for them, and at the end of the day that's what it's all about. It's all about the kids."

Laila Campbell recorded 23 points, five rebounds and three assists to power the Riverside attack. Kiauna Banks chipped in eight points.

Also for the Warriors, Ava Ward collected five points, nine rebounds, three assists and four steals, Sophie Bare passed out six assists, and Anna Roop had three assists and five steals.

Gracie Morrison tallied 16 points to lead the Black Eagles.

Riverside utilized its pressure defense to ignite a fast start out of the gates. The Warriors built up leads of 16-3 and 21-10 on their way to a 25-12 halftime lead. The cushion reached 35-18 late in the third quarter and expanded from there.

"When we're fresh, obviously you saw our (2-2-1) press works pretty well, especially on a team that doesn't handle the ball that well," said Frisby. "But, also, when we start to get tired and things get a little lax and things start to fall apart a little bit, that's kind of been our Achilles heel this year. We wouldn't really be able to recover from it.

"Thankfully tonight, this worked out for us and we ended up on the winning side."

The Warriors (5-18) advance to the section championship game at 7 p.m. Friday at George Washington (19-3), which easily vanquished Capital 96-19 in the other bracket.

The potent Patriots thumped Riverside 101-24 on Jan. 18.

"We played them, and they handled us handily," Frisby said of the Patriots. "We didn't show up and play very well, and they played very well.

"What we have to look at is that we have nothing to lose. We go to GW Friday and, win or lose, we're going to the region, so our focus has to be ... going there and playing them a good game. We need the confidence of going and competing with them."

"George Washington is a really good team. Very impressed with them, great coaching staff, exceptional athletes."

Email: skeenan@register-herald.com; follow on Facebook

South Charleston

Gracie Morrison 7 2-9 16, Paisley Henderson 2 0-0 5, Izzy Marino 2 0-0 4, Tamara Williams 0 0-2 0, Jada Satterfield 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 12 2-11 27.

Riverside

Anna Roop 1 0-0 2, Ava Ward 2 1-2 5, Sophie Bare 1 1-4 3, Laila Campbell 8 5-8 23, Riley Starsick 3 0-2 6, Kiauna Banks 4 0-0 8, Zoey Hall 2 0-0 4, Phoebe Hamm 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 23 7-16 55

SC 8 4 6 9 — 27

R 16 9 14 16 — 55

Three-point goals — SC: 1 (Henderson); R: 2 (Campbell 2). Fouled out — None.