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Riverdale lets lead, game slip away

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Riverdale forward Morgan Murchori looks to inbound the ball during the Lady Raiders’ 52-42 loss to Griffin on Tuesday in a subregion game.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Riverdale forward Morgan Murchori looks to inbound the ball during the Lady Raiders’ 52-42 loss to Griffin on Tuesday in a subregion game.

RIVERDALE — During the first quarter of its Region 4-AAAA, Div. B game against Griffin on Tuesday, Riverdale seemed to have everything going its way.

The Lady Raiders controlled the tempo, which was evidenced by them having an early lead.

But as momentum shifted Griffin’s way, the Lady Raiders didn’t seem to have an answer in the 52-42 loss at home.

“They went to another gear, and we stayed stuck in the same gear,” Riverdale coach Jacquesa Smith said. “We might have had more talent, but Griffin played hard.”

Riverdale led by eight points after the opening quarter, but the Lady Bears closed the gap to trail 25-24 at the intermission.

It was much of the same in the third quarter as Griffin outscored the Lady Raiders 12-6 to take a five-point lead going into the final quarter. Phallon Morris, a sophomore guard, hit a 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining to give the Lady Raiders the halftime lead.

From there, Riverdale could never hold on to it.

“We had a lot of unforced turnovers,” Smith said. “We didn’t keep our poise. We are going to keep working. We have expectations and we will keep a positive outlook.”

And Smith is optimistic about her team as they move forward with the season.

“We are going to rebound from this loss,” Smith said. “We are still in contention in this region.”

The Lady Raiders will take on a dangerous opponent in Jonesboro on Friday. Jonesboro is coming off a Class AAAA semifinals appearance last season.

Smith said she is still tweaking her lineup in hopes of finding the right combination.

“I’m at a point in the season where I’m going to play the kids that come to practice and give it their all,” she said. “Although we lost (tonight), I’m proud of my kids. I don’t look at the wins and losses, but at their character. As a coach, if I don’t do that then I’m setting them up for failure in life.”

Riverdale, which dropped to 9-11 on the season, was lead by Toni Thomas’ 12 points. Also scoring in double figures was Seqoia Nelson with 10 points and Phallon Morris added 11 points.

The Lady Bears were led by Ashton Elliote, who had a game-high 20 points. Tykesia Weems finished with 13 points, which improved to 9-9 on the season.

The teams will meet again on Feb. 1 in Griffin.

“We came out in the first quarter and didn’t play our game,” Griffin coach Veronica Lee said. “We were slow and sluggish at the beginning. The game changed when our point guard started pushing the ball up the court.”