Leader Blues

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

SPORTS>>Lady Wildcats top Riverview for region’s top seed

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

After splitting two conference games during the regular season, Riverview and Harding Academy would settle things for the season in the finals of the 3A-2 district tournament at the Riverview Activity Center Friday night. The Lady Wildcats would end up as the winner of the series with a 38-33 win over the Lady Raiders in a game that came down to patience and persistence.

The game’s pace became slower and slower as it went on. Both teams got off to a respectable start offensively, but a four-minute scoreless stretch for both teams beginning at the 6:13 mark of the second quarter would reset the theme for the entire contest.

“Holding people under 40 points has been our goal all year,” Harding Academy coach Darren Matthews said. “At times, it was just a matter of who wanted to win it more. It was back and forth, but we were able to put together four quarters, and that’s what you have to do during tournament time.”

The Lady Raiders looked to have their offense running automatically in the opening minutes of the game. Senior guard Kori Meachum followed a Courtney Webster basket with a three-point shot at the 4:36 mark to give Riverview a 5-3 lead, and put in a free-throw shot moments later to put the Lady Raiders up 6-3.

Loghan Lowery answered for Harding Academy with a three pointer at the 1:48 mark of the first quarter to tie the game, and Katie Koch ended the frame for the Wildcats with a put back give HA an 8-6 heading into the second quarter. Jasmine James tied it back up with the first goal of the second period, and Jazmine Washington followed that with a basket to hand the lead back to Riverview.

Koch continued to be the Lady Wildcats’ go-to player offensively in the second quarter. Her three-point shot at the 2:50 mark put Harding Academy back in the lead at 11-10, and ended a scoring drought of nearly four minutes in the process.
Harding went up by three with a shot by Cara White, but the Lady Raiders scored the last seven points of the first half to take a 17-13 lead at the intermission.

The Third quarter would be a struggle for Riverview’s offense, and the Lady Wildcats would take advantage by outscoring their opponent 10-5 in the frame to take a 23-22 lead in the final quarter. Liz Ashley extended the lead to three with 6:45 remaining on a Taylor Pryor-assisted goal, but picked up her fourth personal foul moments later with a charge as she was trying to drive against Webster. Meachum briefly got the lead back for Riverview with an inside basket that made the score 26-25, but two unanswered goals by Koch put the Lady Wildcats back out front for good.

Ashley led the Lady Wildcats with 14 points. Koch added 12 points for Harding Academy. For Riverview, Meachum led with 11 points, and Washington had nine. The win gives Harding Academy a record of 23-4 for the season, and puts the Lady Wildcats as the No. 1 seed in the regionals at Rose Bud this week.