The 2011-12 girls basketball season may not have ended in quite the same fashion as last year’s season, but for coach Caron Townsend and her River Ridge Timberwolves, there really is no reason at all to hang their heads.
The River Ridge girls finished this season with an overall record of 10-14 after losing in the D5 regional semifinals to a very strong Seneca squad last Friday night.
Along the way, the Timberwolves came out victorious in a very exciting double overtime thriller against Southwestern to open tournament play last Tuesday night.
Against the visiting Wildcats of Southwestern, coach Townsend’s squad held a 26-24 halftime lead, but was then outscored 13-6 in the third quarter.
Trailing 37-32 going into the fourth, River Ridge mounted a comeback, and found itself with a four-point lead with 35 seconds to play.
The Wildcats then went into a full-court press late in the game, hoping to create some turnovers and transition points, which is exactly what happened.
With 12 seconds to play in regulation, River Ridge was clinging to a slim two-point lead, but another turnover and basket allowed the Wildcats to even the score and send the game into overtime.
“We just couldn’t take care of the ball against their pressure,” explained River Ridge coach Caron Townsend.
With momentum on their side, the Wildcats took an early lead in the first overtime, but allowed River Ridge to come back and send the game into a second extra session.
In the second overtime, Southwestern again held an early lead, but yet again River Ridge came from behind to even things up.
“It seemed like we were always playing catch up, where we’d be four or six down and then we’d come back,” said Townsend.
Inside of 10 seconds to play in the second overtime, the two teams were knotted at 62-62, River Ridge having possession of the ball.
“We tried to run a set play, which kind of fell apart,” explained Townsend. “Angie (Breuer) just decided to drive at the basket, which was the right thing to do with about five seconds on the clock.”
During her drive to the basket, Breuer was fouled and sent to the line for two free throws with 2.3 seconds on the clock.
While Breuer missed the first free throw, she knocked down the second, giving her team a 63-62 lead.
A desperation half-court heave by Southwestern senior Katelyn Hoppman missed its mark as time ran out.
Hoppman finished with a game-high 28 points, 11 rebounds, seven blocked shots and four steals, while Zoe Vaassen added 12 points and Emma Droeszler had 11.
River Ridge sophomore Meagan Herrick and senior Traci Kirschbaum combined to score 42 of their team’s 63 points, Herrick leading the way with 22, and Kirschbaum with 20.
Angie Breuer pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds, dished out nine assists and had five of her team’s 10 steals, while adding five points.
Townsend’s squad made 22-of-52 (42%) total field goal attempts, including 3-of-12 (25%) from downtown. They were 16-of-22 (73%) from the free throw line and committed 27 total turnovers.
The Wildcats made 29-of-73 (40%) total shot attempts, including 2-of-13 (15%) from downtown. They were 2-of-8 (25%) from the free throw line, committed 15 turnovers and came away with 16 total steals.
Seneca 44, River Ridge 30
After knocking off Southwestern on Tuesday night, the Timberwolves had a date with top-seeded Seneca the following Friday night.
The host Indians took control of the game right from the start, holding a 14-7 lead after one quarter of play, then a 27-12 lead at the half.
River Ridge managed to outscore Seneca 10-4 in the third quarter, but was unable to cut into their deficit any further in the fourth quarter, suffering a 44-30 loss.
“Their 3-2 defense was the key that really just kind of kept us out of our offense,” said coach Townsend. “We just couldn’t get it past that front line.”
Though the Timberwolves did get as close as eight points late in the game, they just couldn’t get any closer.
“We had just dug ourselves such a hole from the first half, and we didn’t have enough steam to come back,” Townsend said.
Kirschbaum finished the game with a team-high 11 points, while sophomore Sabrina White led the team in rebounds (7), assists (2) and steals (4). Herrick added eight points.
As a team, the T-Wolves made 12-of-40 (30%) field goal attempts, including 1-of-8 (12.5%) from beyond the 3-point arc. They were 5-of-7 (71%) from the free throw line, committed 20 turnovers and came away with 12 total steals.
Coach Townsend loses two seniors from this year’s squad which include Traci Kirschbaum and Angie Breuer.
River Ridge 63,
Southwestern 62 (2OT)
(WIAA D5 regional quarterfinal from Tuesday, March 6)
Southwestern 16 8 13 14 6 5 - 62
River Ridge 14 12 6 19 6 6 - 63
Southwestern - Vaassen 12, Lindenberg 2, Berning 3, Kunkel 6, Hoppman 28, Droeszler 11. Totals - 29 2-8 62.
River Ridge - White 9, Herrick 22, Breuer 5, Kirchbaum 20, Crapp 7. Totals - 22 16-22 63.
3-point goals - SW: Vaassen 1, Berning 1; RR: Herrick 2, Breuer 1. Team fouls - SW: 13; RR: 8. Fouled out - None.
River Ridge 30
(WIAA D5 regional semifinal from Friday, March 9)
River Ridge 7 5 10 8 - 30
Seneca 14 13 4 13 - 44
River Ridge - White 4, Herrick 8, Breuer 2, Gates 1, Kirschbaum 11, Crapp 2, Mumm 2. Totals - 12 5-7 30.
Seneca - Lessard 10, Payne 2, Boland 15, Roberts 6, Redman 6, Wall 5. Totals - 16 8-10 44.
3-point goals - RR: Kirschbaum 1; S: Lessard 1, Redman 2, Wall 1. Team fouls - RR: 13; S: 11. Fouled out - None.