The River Dell Golden Hawks Varsity Girls Basketball Team (13-3, 6-0 Big North Patriot) faced off against the Wayne Valley Indians (6-10, 3-3 Big North Independence) at River Dell High School in Oradell, New Jersey.
River Dell was coming off a hard-fought and physical 56-44 victory over Ramsey at home, not even two days prior, that extended the Golden Hawk’s winning streak to nine games. Junior Sofia Sanchez paced a balanced scoring effort with 13 points.
Senior Lizzy Puentes returned to the lineup after missing the last month with an injury. Sophomore Morgan Sconza made an incredible recovery after sustaining a severe injury against Ramsey.
The Golden Hawks had a challenge on their hands from the opening tap as the Indians, despite a below .500 record, displayed a ton of grit and determination. A low-scoring period ending with Wayne Valley up 11-10.
In the second quarter, the Indians consistently attacked the rim and successfully converted putback shots in the low post and layups. Wayne Valley extended their lead to 20-12 with less than three and a half minutes remaining. Jessica Lee (16 points) was a significant catalyst for the Indians scoring ten points. Olivia Isaacson (13 points) dropped in seven points.
When it appeared, the Indians were on the verge of gaining significant separation, River Dell answered back with a run to cut the gap to 22-19 at halftime. Sofia Sanchez scored five of her seven points in the first half, including burying a trifecta.
Head Coach Lindsay Steffner on the first half, “They ran off their offensive sets petty early in the first half against us and got some good looks. I said to the team that we can pick up the defensive intensity then our shots will normally fall, and they changed the defenses on us a lot. It was not our tempo and more of their tempo in the first half.”
In the third quarter, the Golden Hawks came out of the locker room a motivated squad. Sofia Sanchez drained a triple to tie the game up at 24-24. River Dell did a spectacular job moving the ball around the perimeter and inside the paint.
The Indians reclaimed the advantage at 28-24 but had no answer for Sofia Sanchez as she was in the zone from downtown, canning two additional treys and totaling 11 points that propelled River Dell to a 36-32 lead at the end of the period.
“That’s what jumpstarted us then we were able to do it from outside and able to get to the rim as well, Head Coach Lindsay Steffner explained. Wayne Valley had to come out of their zone and then went man-to-man and we were able to get some shots inside.”