PATCH GROVE – When her team needed her the most, River Ridge senior Taylor Langmeier came to the rescue last Friday night, leading the Timberwolves to a come-from-behind 41-40 victory over visiting Riverdale in a WIAA division 5 girls basketball regional semifinal.
The Timberwolves went on to win coach Caron Townsend’s eighth regional title at River Ridge the following night with a 47-34 victory over Wauzeka-Steuben, and head into this Thursday night’s sectional semifinal with a season record of 21-2.
Waiting for the Timberwolves will be the state’s top-ranked team from Black Hawk (24-0), who defeated North Crawford, Iowa-Grant and Kickapoo to advance to Thursday night’s sectional semifinal at Mineral Point High School.
After cruising past De Soto, 71-13, in their tournament opener last Tuesday night, the Timberwolves had all they could handle against Riverdale the following Friday night.
Trailing, 20-15, at halftime, the Timberwolves trailed the Chieftains most of the night, with their largest deficit being eight points in the second half.
All that changed late in the contest when junior Rylee Zinkle drained a 3-pointer from the corner, giving the Timberwolves a 37-36 lead, which they never relinquished.
Coach Townsend’s team held its largest lead of three points in the final seconds, and knocked down crucial free throws down the stretch to secure a one-point victory.
Leading the charge for River Ridge was Langmeier, who netted a team-high 21 points to go along with team-highs in rebounds (7), steals (6) and assists (3).
With Riverdale face guarding River Ridge’s Skylar White all night, the junior sensation was limited to a season-low eight points on 3-of-7 shooting from the field and 1-of-3 from the free throw line.
Langmeier was 6-of-20 from the field and a whopping 9-of-12 from the free throw line to lead all scorers.
“We really had to win the game on our defense,” said coach Townsend. “Other then Taylor, we weren’t able to create any type of offense, so we just kept our best defensive players on the floor and battled it out.”
As a team, the Timberwolves made 12-of-43 (28%) shot attempts, including 3-of-15 (20%) from 3-point range. They were 14-of-21 (67%) from the free throw line, committed 21 turnovers to Riverdale’s 24, and came away with 16 steals to eight for the Chieftains.
On the following Saturday night, The Timberwolves defeated Wauzeka-Steuben in the regional finals, 47-34, getting 21 points from Langmeier and 20 from White, as the two combined to scored 41 of their team’s 47 points.
After winning the out-right Six Rivers West conference title with an unblemished record of 10-0, this year’s Timberwolves now added a regional championship to their trophy cabinet.
“It’s just nice for the kids, they’ve worked very hard,” said Townsend of the regional title. “The ultimate goal is for them to feel the success of hard work, and the time commitment that they’ve put in. When it happens, it’s really a special thing.”
Thursday night’s D5 sectional semifinal contest at Mineral Point High School will tip off at 7 p.m. with the winner advancing to the sectional final against either Eleva-Strum (20-3) or Independence (17-4).
River Ridge 71, De Soto 13
(D5 regional quarterfinal from Tuesday, Feb. 19, @ Patch Grove)
De Soto 3 10 - 13
River Ridge 37 34 - 71
De Soto - Rachel Gianoli 2, Camryn Venner 3, Brooke Lockington 7, Madelen Jacobson 1. Totals - 4 4-6 11.
River Ridge - Faith Schier 2, Skylar White 19, Taylor Langmeier 22, Ruby Breuer 7, Glenna Marshall 2, Rylee Zinkle 3, Kendell Esser 2, Bayli Mason 2, Faith Webb 2, McKenzie Graf 10. Totals - 28 9-17 71.
3-point goals - DS: Venner 1; RR: White 3, Zinkle 1, Graf 2. Team fouls - DS 13, RR 9. Fouled out - None.
River Ridge 41, Riverdale 40
(D5 regional semifinal from Friday, Feb. 22, at Patch Grove)
Riverdale 20 20 - 40
River Ridge 15 26 - 41
Riverdale - Madison Couley 8, Tess Johnson 12, Makayla May 8, Chloe Klebesadel 5, Jordan Johnson 7. Totals - 15-44, 8-12 40.
River Ridge - Ruby Breuer 1, McKenzie Graf 3, Taylor Langmeier 21, Glenna Marshall 3, Bayli Mason 2, Skylar White 8, Rylee Zinkle 3. Totals - 12-43 14-21 41.
3-point goals - R: (2-14) Johnson 1, Klebesadel 1; RR: (3-15) Graf 1, White 1, Zinkle 1. Team fouls - R 16, RR 11. Fouled out - None.
River Ridge 47, Wauzeka-Steuben 34
(D5 regional final from Saturday, Feb. 23)
Wauzeaka-Steuben 13 21 - 34
River Ridge 20 27 - 47
Wauzeka-Steuben - Haley Atkinson 4, Ravyn Krachey 9, Maddy Reichmann 8, Erin Krachey 3, Jordan Mormann 10. Totals - 13 7-15 34.
River Ridge - Faith Schier 1, Skylar White 20, Taylor Langmeier 21, Rylee Zinkle 3, McKenzie Graf 2. Totals - 17 11-17 47.
3-point goals - WS: Atkinson 1; RR: White 1, Zinkle 1. Team fouls - WS 15, RR 16. Fouled out - R. Krachey (WS).