By STEVE GOLDMAN
For the Star Beacon
The Riverside girls basketball team had gotten in the habit of taking bad shots against certain defenses, leading to a slew of problems. It’s safe to say, the Beavers had no such issue in a 53-34 victory over Perry on Thursday at Spectator Gymnasium.
“There were a couple games teams would go into a zone and we’d chuck long 3-pointers that would lead to long rebounds then layups in transition for the other team,” Riverside coach Brindi Kandel said. “We’re learning to execute and find the post inside and making back door cuts and passes. That’s leading to more easy shots and we’re more likely to shot 50 percent. I think we’re starting to find a rhythm offensively.”
Riverside — the area’s top shooting team (48.4 percent) coming into the week — was 21 of 41 (51.2 percent) from the field in topping the Pirates.
“The last few games, we’ve been right around 50 percent or in the high 40s,” Kandel said. “We’re trying to find high percentage shots. That percentage tonight shows we’re working to find those shots. I’ll take 50 percent any night.”
To back up the thought the Beavers (9-6, 4-4 in Premier Athletic Conference) are working to get those high percentage shots, they assisted on 17 of their 21 buckets.
“This is one of the most unselfish teams I’ve seen or coached,” Kandel said. “I’m so proud of the them for being team-oriented. That’s the kind of basketball I want to see at Riverside. That’s what I want our MO to be.”
Five Riverside players had at least two assists. Alexis Parsons led the way with six and Kortlynn Carr added five.
The Pirates (6-7, 2-4 in Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division) didn’t have what would be considered a bad night from the field, making 32.5 percent (13-40) of their shots. It just simply wasn’t enough to overcome the Beavers’ good night.
“If we make our open layups, we have a chance to shoot far better than 50 percent,” Perry coach Mike Decker said. “I don’t want to take anything away from what (Riverside) did tonight, but we beat ourselves.”
Riverside outscored the Pirates, 21-4, over the first 10:28 before Perry turned the tables a bit. The Pirates finished the half on a 12-2 run.
“The first quarter, we came out and didn’t execute the way we wanted to,” Decker said. “We cut it to seven at the half. We came out after the half and on the first three possessions we missed open layups. They went down and scored to take it back up. If we come out and make our layups, it’s a different game.
“(Riverside) made its open shots.”
Riverside took a 19-point lead, 43-24, heading into the final period.
Katie Klingman led the Beavers with 16 points and 10 rebounds, Megan Carabotta had 11 points, Parsons had 10 and Carr added nine.
“Klingman did a good job sealing our big girls,” Decker said. “We came in the game intending on fronting her. It was a combination of her sealing well and us not executing that led to her big night.”
Kayla Cool paced the Pirates with 15 points and 12 boards.
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.