DAYTON — During halftime of Saturday afternoon’s game, Tongue River High School girls basketball head coach Ryan Alley challenged his team. The Lady Eagles held a 21-16 lead over Riverside, but Alley believed the team could have comfortably had a double-digit lead.
The head coach urged his players to come out strong and outscore the opposition by 15 points in the second half. The Lady Eagles more than obliged Alley, taking control immediately and scoring 22 more points than Riverside on the way to a 51-24 victory. The Lady Eagles improved to 2-3 in quadrant competition.
Helped by the dominant second half, TR earned its first home win of the season by clamping down defensively and taking care of the ball to open up good looks on offense.
The Lady Eagles led wire to wire in what Alley called their best performance of the season.
“They stepped up and did good things,” Alley said. “They controlled the ball for the most part, made smart decisions and finished around the basket.”
Tongue River did a nice job breaking the Riverside full-court press and converting early scoring chances. TR also displayed solid pressure defense, forcing the Lady Rebels into many turnovers.
“We proved to ourselves that we could handle (the) press and hopefully that takes us to the next level,” Alley said.
Izzy Carbert tallied a game-high 15 points, most of them near the rim when the Lady Eagles caught the Riverside defense napping. Carbert scored on offensive putbacks, backdoor cuts and perimeter shooting. Her jump shot in the final seconds of the first quarter gave TR a 15-9 lead.
Alley said Carbert provided an early motor for the Lady Eagles on both ends of the floor. She was a catalyst that helped the offense hum and played active defense with steals and deflections.
“She shows a tenacity on defense,” Alley said. “She just has a nose for the ball.”
After Carbert scored half of the team’s points in the first three stanzas, the fourth quarter belonged to Holly Hutchinson. The senior scored the first nine points for the Lady Eagles and put to rest any chance of a Riverside comeback. Hutchinson converted three opportunities in the post in just over a minute to stretch a 10-point lead into a 39-24 advantage with 4:36 left to play, effectively sealing the win.
“When it was time for somebody to take over the game, the kids knew who to give it to,” Alley said.
Carbert said it was the team’s best performance because the players worked well from start to finish.
“We finally all really put all of our skills together, and it added up,” Carbert said.
Tongue River plays Friday at Rocky Mountain at 5:30 p.m.
Riverside…………9 7 4 4 — 24
Tongue River…15 6 9 21 — 51
Riverside — VanDeest 12, Riley 6, Deniz 4, Coy 2
Tongue River — Carbert 15, Hutchinson 14, Bocek 9, Reish 5, Tritschler 5, Rosics 2, Pitman 1