By STEVE GOLDMAN
For the Star Beacon
In winning at South, 56-33, the Riverside girls put forth a very good team effort. That’s what coaches like to see, and Brindi Kandel is no different.
“I told them in the locker room, ‘That was a great team win.’” Kandel, the Beavers’ coach, said following Wednesday night’s triumph. “They all contributed, we were able to get everyone in, and they all played hard. And I thought our big key was attacking the boards offensively and defensively. It really was a great group effort.”
Lexi Parsons led the Beavers (3-1, 1-1 in the Premier Athletic Conference) with 15 points and six assists, and added two blocked shots. She closed the first quarter with a 3-pointer from midcourt.
Katie Klingman had a big night for Riverside with 14 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots.
The Beavers won the rebound battle by a 46-33 count (27-13 in the first half) and limited the Rebels to 21.8 percent shooting (12-of-55). Klingman played a big role there too by making things difficult in the middle.
“Shooting 22 percent is not a way that you’re going to win a basketball game,” South coach Erin Ertter, who saw her team fall to 0-3, 0-2, said. “It’s not like we weren’t getting shots out of our offensive sets. But they weren’t going in for us.
“Rebounding — we’ve been working on it all year. It’s a decision that we have to make, and do it. And when we’re not making our shots, we get down on ourselves, we get down on the team and a lot of things fall apart. We’ve got to get mentally tougher as a team.”
“I think having Katie inside really helps us a lot,” Kandel said. “When we get beat out of the trap or on dribble penetration, she’s there to kind of wipe away that shot. And I think the guard’s going to adjust her shot or she’s not even going to attack the middle.
“It’s Katie. It’s kind of what she’s done for two years.”
Parsons’ long basket started a 7-0 spurt that gave the Beavers an 18-10 lead in the first minute of the second period. South sliced it to 20-17 on a circus shot by Lauren Blasinsky (9 points), but Riverside closed the half on a 9-1 run, making it 29-18. Then it ran off the first six points of the second half, making it 11-consecutive points overall and a 35-18 margin.
The Beavers then left no doubt, as a 15-0 surge pushed the advantage to 54-23 with less than five minutes left. At that juncture, they had outscored the Rebels 34-6 from the time it had been 20-17.
Megan Carabotta had 10 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals, and Megan Tamburiello eight points and eight boards for the Beavers.
Senior guard Kortlyn Carr, who injured her leg in Riverside’s game against Geneva on Saturday, was diagnosed with partial tears, and it remains unknown how long she will be out. Junior post Katie Lyden is waiting for the results of the MRI on her knee. With those two players out, the Beavers dressed just eight girls.
Riverside shot 26-of-59 from the floor for 44.1 percent.
“We focused a lot on how to attack a zone, specifically a 2-3, and we told them it’s got to be ball movement; the ball has to go side-to-side,” Kandel said. “And they did a nice job of finding the open player tonight, down low and on the back side — a good inside-out game.”
Kayla Zarbock blocked three shots for the Rebels.
Goldman is a freelance writer from South Euclid.