For two-and-a-half quarters, the River Ridge Hawks played “like
freshmen and sophomores”, according to coach Jackie Robinson.
They committed 15 turnovers. Nothing was working in the paint. There
was hit-and-miss shooting, and most importantly, the brand of
basketball known to the Hawks was non-existent during Friday’s 2A
girls regional game against No. 6 White River.
Then, the Hawks changed gears and did something they’re known for –
full-court pressure and trapping known as “complete chaos” by players
It worked in River Ridge’s favor, holding the 2A SPSL champion Hornets
to just four-second half field goals and forced an eye-popping 18
turnovers in the final two quarters in its 43-35 come-from-behind
victory over White River at Kent-Meridian High School.
The win makes the Hawks (19-5) one of eight teams headed to the state
quarterfinals at the Yakima SunDome starting Feb. 28 while White
River’s season ends at 21-5.
White River was the more aggressive team for 16 minutes, taking a
25-17 lead into the lockerroom. A 10-0 run the final 4 minutes of the
second quarter gave the Hornets their first double-digit lead at
25-14. A sagging man defense by White River left little success in the
paint for the Hawks, and at one point, had more turnovers than points.
Question marks surrounded the Hornets’ health entering the game with
Kennedy Hobert (fractured wrist) and Sutton Mills (concussion), but
coach Chris Gibson said pre-game both were cleared to play after Mills
sat out Monday’s West Central District III title game against Sumner
with Hobert seeing limited time.
Even with White River’s lead at 31-19 inside 4 minutes of the third
quarter, River Ridge wasn’t done. “The group just believed,” Robinson
said. “They believed the whole time.”
That’s when the Hawks went to work.
In the final 12 minutes, they had nine steals, pressuring the Hornets
from the in-bounds at every possession possible and trapping when the
Hornets crossed halfcourt. They also outscored White River, 26-4, in
the final two quarters, and with 3:58 to go in the game, freshman
MaKenna Schultz’s top-of-the-key 3-pointer gave the Hawks their first lead
since early in the first quarter at 34-33. They never trailed again.