By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
It took nearly two quarters for Riverside to tally a field goal on Saturday afternoon at Geneva. During that time, the Eagles were slowly but surely pulling away from the Beavers in a 50-22 Premier Athletic Conference victory.
While the Beavers were 0-7 from the field in the opening period, the Eagles, though shooting only slightly better (3-12, 25.0 percent), built a 9-2 advantage behind five points from Emily Ball.
“I think it was key that it was a different person,” Geneva coach Nancy Barbo said. “Everybody expects Lindsey (Mayle) to give us that jump start. It was nice to see Emily step up and take that role for a little while.”
The Beavers finally netted their first bucket with 2:43 to remaining in the first half on Erin Fahl’s 3-pointer from the wing to cut the Geneva advantage to 16-5.
“We had no offense whatsoever,” Riverside coach Darren Jones said. “We killed ourselves with our offense. We were totally flat. Our offense did not exist. That was a terrible offense.
“We were just plain out of sync. We were playing out of our comfort zone. We allowed them to dictate what we were going to do offensively. We didn’t get a lot of shots off. When we did, they didn’t go in. There were not enough opportunities.
“At the end of the day, the team that controls the tempo, the flow of the game, normally wins,” Jones said. “We just could never get it right. We couldn’t get it on track.”
The Eagles (4-2, 4-0) appeared to be running a very deliberate offense most of the afternoon, but it turns out they were just struggling.
“I didn’t feel like we ran any kind of offense,” Barbo said. “We didn’t do a good job on offense today. It might have looked like we were running a deliberate offense, but we were forced to do different things after the first one we’d run didn’t work out.”
That 0-7 start from the field just snowballed into bigger problems for the Beavers (2-4, 1-3).
“Going 0-7 and taking almost two quarters to score two baskets destroys you, definitely,” Jones said. “It takes the girls mentally out of their game. They force the ball, take bad shots, dribble off their feet, try to dribble through a double team and generally start doing things that take them out of rhythm. They start to feel pressed. The more pressed they feel, the worse it gets.”
Geneva did not allow more than five points in any of the first three quarters in taking a 37-11 lead. Riverside did, however, double that output in the fourth period.
Riverside turned the ball over 20 times in the contest and were just 6 of 31 (19.4 percent) from the field.
There was a bright spot, however, for the Beavers. They forced the Eagles to work for everything point they point on the board.
“Defensively, I thought we were very, very good,” Jones said. “The score doesn’t indicate how good our defense was. It was great defense. At the end of the day, you’ve got to put the ball in the basket or you’re not going to win, no matter how good your defense is.”
Geneva committed just nine turnovers, which helped the offense tremendously. It was the second consecutive game the Eagles had turned the ball over less than 10 times after doing it just eight times in a win over Lakeside on Wednesday.
“Our offense was stagnant at times, but we did take care of the basketball,” Barbo said. “I think that kept us in the game. It allowed us to keep a lead, at least.”
Mayle led all scorers with 20 points, Ball had 12 and 12 rebounds and Sarah Juncker and Annaliesa Fistek each had eight.
Shannon Garvey paced the Beavers with 12 points and Fahl added six.
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.