River Wins Sectional Co-Final Vs. Rosecrans
OLD WASHINGTON – There isn’t a junk defense River hasn’t seen this season. The Pilots have witnessed every wrinkle of those defenses, too.
One opponent after another has attempted to slow down Jensen Caretti, utilizing different method after different method. Time and again the opposition has forgotten the Pilots have other scoring options.
Rosecrans employed a triangle-and-2 defense and put both defenders on Caretti. It spelled a 30-13 halftime deficit and eventually a 72-58 Pilots victory on Saturday afternoon in an Ohio Division IV sectional co-final at Buckeye Trail High School.
River advances to the district tournament to take on Malvern, which dispatched St. John in Saturday’s opener, 66-54.
The game will be played on Wednesday at Steubenville High School’s Crimson Center, but the time hasn’t been finalized.
“They obviously took a look at what Wheeling Central did to us in the game at home,” River coach Rick Isaly said. “I kind of thought more teams would try that against us since that game. We’ve worked against that a lot since then, and I thought we did a pretty good job of handling it.”
The Bishops defensive approach worked in terms of limiting Caretti. She finished with 15 points, but that opened the scoring doors for Brielle Williams, Bailey Caldwell and Lauren Flannery. That trio combined for 45 points with Williams leading the way for the Pilots with 22.
With Caretti taking her two defenders away from the bucket, River played with a power play on the remaider of the floor, which led to several easy chances.
“That’s exactly what we want to do,” Isaly said in terms of Caretti removing herself and two defenders from the action. “As long as we move the ball and find the open girl we’ll be fine, because they’re playing 4-on-3. I told the girls that if we can’t score when it’s 4-on-3, we’ve got big problems.”
Caldwell had 13 points and Flannery weaved her way through the defense en route to 10.
“We’ve been working on trying to get back to how we were early in the season with several girls, and not just Jensen scoring,” Isaly said. “We’re capable.”
Rosecrans got as close as 11 at the end of the third quarter thanks in large part to the impressive shooting of junior Riley Hagy. She meshed half of Rosecrans’ 10 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 30 points.
The Pilots stretched their lead to as many as 20 in the middle of the fourth, but Hagy kept firing to keep things interesting.
“Rosecrans has a nice team and never went away,” Isaly said. “Hagy really shot the ball well. They kept battling, which is a credit to their kids.”
Williams scored 10 of her points in the fourth quarter. All told, River had six different players record buckets in the fourth.
While Caretti was held below her scoring average, she did plenty to affect the game. She had yet another double-double with 11 rebounds and blocked five shots for good measure. Caretti added five assists.
Hagy’s scoring was complemented by junior Abigail Hutchenson’s 11. She also had nine rebounds.
River Crushes Blue Devils, 86-15
River jumped out to a 27-2 lead and never looked back in winning its 19th game of the season against the Beallsville Blue Devils in the Ohio Division IV Sectional at Buckeye Trail Feb. 17.
River’s Jensen Caretti again was the focal point of the game for the (19-4) Lady Pilots, scoring a game-high 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds that pushed her total over the century mark in her career to lead the way.
Brielle Williams had a solid game, netting 17 points and dishing out eight assists, while Abby Caldwell sank an even dozen for the Pilots.
In addition, Riley Lollathin and Lauren Flannery each recorded eight points, while Candace Caldwell netted six points. Haylee Winkler scored three points, while Faith Ingram ended the Pilots scoring with a two-pointer.