The River Dell Golden Hawks Varsity Girls Basketball Team (8-3, 3-0 Big North Patriot) squared off against Indian Hills Braves(3-7, 1-2 Big North Patriot) at River Dell High School in Oradell, New Jersey.
River Dell was coming off an impressive 54-42 victory over Jefferson, extending their winning streak to four games. Junior Sofia Sanchez totaled a game-high 22 points.
The Golden Hawks led early in the first quarter in a low-scoring contest 6-4, but then the defense hit another gear with a stifling full-court trap defense that caused Indian Hills to commit turnovers leading to fast-break and transition lay-ups and led to a 10-0 spurt over two minutes.
River Dell spread the wealth on offense with four players scoring, led by Sofia Sanchez tallying six points of her game-high ten points. By the time the period ended, the Golden Hawks had led 16-6.
In the first quarter, Golden Hawks Head Coach Lindsay Steffner said, “We have been working on that trap defense against a lot of opponents, and the girls executed it well and got some good fast-break lay-ups and finished them.”
Several River Dell bench players got quality playing time in the second quarter on the court. Led by senior Gabby DeGroat dropping in six of her game-high ten points as the Golden Hawks widened their advantage to 20 points.
“Being able to use my size is one of my biggest advantages,” Gabby DeGroat explained. “I’m taller than a lot of people and can post up and get to the basket a lot easier.” Every time I go out on the court, I want to be able to help my team.
“Coach Steffner is an amazing coach, and she knows all of our strengths and weaknesses.” “She makes sure that we produce and get points when we do get playing time.” She’s a great leader and likes to get to know us, not our basketball skills and what’s going on with our lives, and friendly to have a coach like that.
River Dell capped off an outstanding first half with textbook teamwork. Senior Erin Nader lofted an over-the-top pass to senior Mary Palazzo as she converted a lay-up off the glass before the buzzer sounded. The Golden Hawks were up by a commanding margin of 38-17 at the break.
Head Coach Lindsay Steffner on Gabby DeGroat, “Gabby’s come along very well, and she’s working hard for a bigger role.” “She’s a solid kid and an excellent athlete, and you can see that on the softball field.” She’s mighty when she wants to be, and I keep telling you got to be able to be a presence down low, got a soft touch around the rim, and got outstanding qualities she puts on display.
“I was able to get everyone playing time, and all of them came in and played aggressively and kept the lead going, which as a coach, I’m delighted to see,” “Every night, someone else has a chance to shine, and they’re a very talented and unselfish group. You see that in the passing game. Everyone that came in played an important role and only sometimes showed up in the box score, whether for two, five, or 32 minutes.
“I have 13 seniors and it’s a unique situation and a joy to be at practice and you’re having fun and that translates to the game.”
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