Ellis School girls beat Riverview for 1st time since 2006-07 season

Thursday, January 17, 2019 | 11:15 PM

It was a quarter coach Keith Stitt and his Riverview girls basketball team would like to forget.

The Raiders trailed by four entering the third quarter of Thursday’s Section 2-2A matchup with Ellis School.

But they were unable to score a point in the frame. The Tigers scored 17 in the third to take control en route to a 49-28 victory.

“We just didn’t shoot the ball well, and to their credit, they shot it well,” Stitt said of the third-quarter disparity.

Ellis avenged a 10-point loss to Riverview from Dec. 13 and snapped a 13-game losing streak to the Raiders dating to the 2006-07 season.

The Tigers upped their record to 11-3 overall and 4-3 in the section, and Riverview fell to 5-9, 3-4. The Tigers coupled Thursday’s victory with their 44-26 win over Winchester Thurston to move into sole possession of third place in the section.

Winchester Thurston suffered a 70-47 loss to Brentwood and is 3-4 in the section.

“We just have an all-around good feeling right now,” Ellis coach Dan LaGamba said. “We knew coming into the week how close we were to Riverview and Winchester Thurston in the standings. We knew this game (with Riverview) was going to be a battle. Keith is a great coach, and Riverview is a great team. We’re able to exhale after two good wins.”

Riverview went 13 minutes, 16 seconds without a field goal from late in the second quarter to early in the fourth quarter.

The only point the Raiders scored in that stretch was a free throw from Francesca Lio with no time left on the clock at the end of the first half.

Lio, who scored a team-best 14 points and added 15 rebounds, broke the field-goal drought on a layup with 5:14 to go. She tallied all nine of Riverview’s points in the fourth.

As the Ellis defense clamped down and controlled the boards in the third, the offense helped put the game away. Katharine Ference hit two of her three 3-pointers early in the third, and Alexis Crichlow added a bucket to make it 31-19 with 5:30 left in the quarter.

“We were missing some open shots in the first half, and we knew some opportunities were going to fall,” LaGamba said. “We told the girls at halftime to keep shooting the ball. Defensively, we had a couple girls in foul trouble, which made us pay attention to detail even more.”

Natalie Jasper scored six of her game-best 17 in the third. Ference finished with 11 points, and Sydne’ Ballengee added 10. Crichlow finished with eight rebounds to go along with six points.

“You have to tip your hat to Ellis,” Stitt said. “They played a good game. They outplayed us, were more physical than us, they outrebounded us and clearly shot it better than we did.

“We’re still in it for the playoffs, but it certainly decreased our margin of error. We have Winchester here in a couple of weeks, and this makes that an almost must win. That will be like a playoff game.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-388-5825, mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MLove_Trib.

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