By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP —
Limit the opposing team’s scoring opportunities and you stand a good chance to win a basketball team.
Riverside held Edgewood to just three shots in the opening quarter and 31 total to drop the Warriors, 60-23, Wednesday night at Edgewood.
The Beavers (11-7, 5-5 in Premier Athletic Conference) held the Edgewood offense to an 0-3 first period and forced seven turnovers in taking a 16-1 lead through eight minutes.
“The goal coming in was to limit (Edgewood guard Gia) Saturday, especially because of her ability to make shots,” Riverside coach Brindi Kandel said. “We did a good job of limiting their opportunities and not giving them offensive rebounds.”
“With our board talks, every single game, the first thing I put up there is every possession counts on offense,” Edgewood coach Dave McCoy said. “Plain and simple, the first thing we do when they win the tip is make a steal or get a turnover and go down and turn it over ourselves.
“We just do not make good, smart decisions. We get so frustrated because we don’t make good decisions. I just told the girls this has to be a priority to (them). (They) have to be able to score.”
The Warriors’ lone point in the first eight minutes came on a Cortney Humphrey free throw.
Edgewood (3-14) did not have the same kind of success defensively. Riverside was 7 of 15 (46.7 percent) in the first and turned the ball over just three times.
“They mixed it up and played a pretty aggressive man-to-man defense,” McCoy said. “They were on our hips the whole time. We tried to establish more pick and rolls, a more simplistic two-man game. It was just not there.”
Ten seconds into the second period, April Lane connected on the Warriors’ first field goal. The Beavers, however, scored the next nine points to take a 25-3 lead with 3:40 to play in the half. They led, 30-9, at the break.
“Once we were up, it was a good opportunity to work on getting stops in using our man principles. Everyone did a good job limiting their field goal attempts and creating turnovers.”
Riverside forced 36 turnovers — 23 on steals — and held the Warriors to just 8 of 31 (25.8 percent) shooting in the contest.
“We average about 30 turnovers per game,” McCoy said. “If we cut that to 16 or 17, we would be in most games. Most of our turnovers result in points. I’d say we probably average giving up 20 points per game on turnovers.
“(Riverside) played a good man-to-man defense. They’re part of that contingency of PAC teams we’ve played that play good man defense.
“The bottom line is execution and we haven’t been able to execute.”
As much as McCoy wants the Warriors to limit their turnovers in an effort to limit their opponents’ scoring opportunities, Kandel wants the Beavers to create turnovers in order to have more chances to score.
“We’re getting ready for the tournament and our philosophy is defense first,” Kandel said. “We want to get offense out of that. We want to be able to do things on defense to create opportunities on offense.”
Alexis Parsons did a pretty good job of that in making seven steals and either taking them in for layups or getting to the free-throw line.
“We wanted to be in that area where we denied aggressively without giving up backdoor cuts. That starts with Lexi, or whoever the point guard is guarding, up front.
“The wings also did a nice job getting their hands in the passing lanes.”
Katie Klingman had 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Beavers. Parsons added 12 points and Abbey Militello had nine.
Taylor Diemer paced Edgewood with seven points and Humphrey added six.
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.