By STEVE GOLDMAN
For the Star Beacon
PAINESVILLE TOWNSHIP —
It took several minutes for the Riverside girls to get into the swing of things Monday night. But once they did, they were pretty much in control.
In a makeup of a prior postponement, the Beavers got 18 points from Lexi Parsons and an 11-point, 10-rebound performance from Katie Klingman in a 57-34 victory over visiting Kirtland, a non-conference opponent.
“I thought the first three to four possessions weren’t quite in our rhythm — maybe a little carryover from Saturday’s game (a 67-42 loss at North),” Riverside coach Brindi Kandel said. “And all of a sudden, we started establishing transition a little bit, and got our flow. And I thought we did a great job of getting the ball in the paint, which is something we need to do.”
At the midway point of the first quarter, the Hornets (14-6) had a 6-2 lead. But Riverside (12-8, 5-6 in the Premier Athletic Conference) ran off nine straight points, the last five by Parsons, for an 11-6 advantage. After Kirtland broke that string, the Beavers tacked on eight more, including a 3-pointer at the period-ending buzzer by Parsons, making it 19-8. They extended it to 25-11 as halftime approached, and stretched it to 44-23 on a steal and layup by Parsons late in the third quarter.
“Katie has just been solid,” Kandel, who pointed out that her point and board totals were both at about her average, said. “Lexi... I mean, she just never quits. She really sparks us defensively and offensively. I thought she did a great job of finishing the layups in transition, (despite) a little bit of contact.”
Riverside hit 23 of its 48 shots for 47.9 percent. It forced 25 turnovers, 15 via steals.
Kortlyn Carr had five of those thefts, and added nine points and five assists. Megan Carabotta also had nine points for the Beavers.
“(I’m) very happy with the defensive effort,” Kandel said. “We tried to switch some things up, and the girls did a good job of adjusting to the different defenses. We got a lot of deflections, and some of those turned into steals for us. We want to create our offense out of our defense.”
“I thought we came out and competed pretty well in the first half,” Kirtland coach Bob Bell said. “Riverside’s a good team; they’re solid. They’ve got a lot of seniors, they’re well-coached. And they play good defense. We knew it was going to be a test.”
Sydney Kuehn led the Hornets with eight points, all of them coming in the third quarter. She also blocked three shots, and teammate Alicia Ponzani grabbed eight rebounds.
“We saw a few good things out of our kids tonight, but they’re strong up the middle,” Bell said. “They’ve got good guards and they’ve got a very solid game inside. That’s hard to compete with.”
Goldman is a freelance writer from South Euclid.