There is a reason why River Ridge’s girls squad is ranked fourth in the state 2A girls basketball poll. Aberdeen got 32 minutes of that reason on Tuesday night.
After a tight first quarter, the Hawks took flight by relying on their posts to bulldoze the Bobcats en route to a 70-39 Evergreen 2A win at Sam Benn Gym.
River Ridge knocked home 17-of-27 field-goal attempts in the first half alone and outscored the hosts, 45-23, in the second and third quarters to seize control.
“In the second quarter, we defensively lost their (posts); we’ve been having trouble dealing with team’s post players,” AHS head coach Aaron Roiko said. “All in all, I thought our effort was pretty good in the first half. There were a lot of good things and positives. We were tired and just couldn’t buy a basket in the second half.”
Aberdeen and River Ridge played to a draw for the first five minutes of the game as the Bobcats found some holes to convert baskets and the Hawks found their running legs off the bus.
Bobcat senior Alexxi Timmons converted a basket for a 12-10 lead with just over two minutes left in the frame. The Hawks knocked down three consecutive inside baskets — a drive by Jazzlynn Brewster and post shots by Savannah McGill and Rebecca Stevenson — for a 16-12 advantage.
McGill and Stevenson established themselves completely in the second quarter, with help from Brewster on the dribble-drive and guard Makenna Schultz hitting perimeter shots. The four-point lead ballooned into a 14-point advantage quickly on transition baskets and inside bunnies.
All of that led to a 24-12 quarter and a 38-24 halftime lead for River Ridge, which was never threatened in the second half.
“They’re a good team,” Roiko said. “They were able to hit from the outside and to add that to their inside presence, they’re tough. They’re ranked (fourth) for a reason.”
Schultz and Brewster hit 3-of-4 three-point baskets to open the second half at 47-26 and the McGill-Stevenson combo took over from there. Tiana Blackburn and Paige Johnson each battled valiantly in the paint for Aberdeen.
Sophomore guard Erin Kuhn provided an offensive spark for the Bobcats, scoring six of her team-high 10 points in the second half. The Hawks put their defensive pressure on the hosts’ three senior leaders — Timmons, Kiana Dixon and Emily Fisher — to hold them to 17 points combined.
Fisher pulled in eight rebounds and Blackburn and Johnson added five rebounds each. Coach Roiko cited Kuhn for her all-around game.
Brewster led all scorers with 24 points for the Hawks, with Stevenson added 13 and McGill 12. Schultz also finished with 14 points, giving the four all but nine of the team’s points in the contest.
On Thursday, Aberdeen stays home for Senior Night against Capital.
River Ridge 16 22 21 11 — 70
Aberdeen 12 12 11 4 — 39
River Ridge (70) — Coleman 2, Sitani 2, Schultz 14, Bernethy 3, Floyd, Johnston 2, Brewster 22, McGill 12, Stevenson 13. FG — 30-56 (.536). FT — 1-3.
Aberdeen (39) — Dietrich, Fisher 6, Timmons 7, Riekkola, Dixon 2, Roiko 2, Kuhn 12, Johnson 6, Blackburn 4. FG — 16-64 (.250). FT — 5-8.
JV — Aberdeen 42, River Ridge 28. Jillian Swor 13 points for AHS.