The River Dell Golden Hawks Varsity Basketball Team(6-3, 2-0 Big North Patriot) faced off against the Westwood Cardinals(7-2, 1-1 Big North Patriot) at River Dell High School in Oradell, New Jersey.
River Dell was coming off a 47-35 win over Ramsey at Ramsey High School, marking the Golden Hawks’ second straight win and improving to 5-3 on the season.
The Golden Hawks were minus one of their critical starters against Westwood, with senior Lizzy Puentes out a couple of weeks due to a finger injury. Senior Mia Kilmurray got the starting assignment in place of Puentes.
“Lizzy has been playing great and every game she’s improved,” River Dell Lindsay Steffner explained. “She played a phenomenal game at Ramsey and held their top scorer to 14 points.” Defensively she’s been a solid player for us and gets her hands on the ball.
“Late in the third quarter she hurt her finger and ended up playing through it because she’s tough and the momentum of the game and adrenaline took over but by the next day it swelled up and she’s going to be out about two to three weeks.”
River Dell came out firing on all cylinders, jumping to an 11-0 advantage in the first four minutes of the first quarter. The Golden Hawks scored from both the perimeter and inside the paint.
The Golden Hawks employed a smothering defense that denied the Cardinals’ offense from driving into the paint and getting quality shots from the perimeter. Westwood’s first points came with two and a half minutes left on a free throw.
River Dell Sofia Sanchez tallied six points in the period, including a sensational play that capped off an impressive beginning to the game. Sanchez grabbed a defensive rebound the, dribbled the length of the court, and, just before the buzzer sounded, hoisted a spectacular off-balance baseline jump shot as the Golden Hawks led 15-5.
“There’s a lot that goes into each game; we watch the film for about 20 to 30 minutes before each game and go over a scouting report,” Head Coach Lindsay Steffner described. “We go over the strengths and weaknesses of opponents and where we’re going to attack and play defense and overall game plan.” The players are becoming more learners of the game in that way.
“You can see it slowly happening on the court, the basketball IQ, the ball movement and different areas of where they can score.” “It was a really nice display of making outside shots, use screen and roles and finding each other on the court.”
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