Riverview girls rally past Burgettstown, end playoff losing streak

Friday, February 14, 2020 | 8:30 PM

Despite a 10-point deficit at the end of the third quarter, the Riverview girls basketball team would not be denied its first WPIAL playoff victory since 2016.

The No. 10 Raiders ended a three-game WPIAL playoff losing skid and advanced to the quarterfinals with a 32-28 victory over No. 7 Burgettstown on Friday at Northgate.

“For sure, our coaches kept it in our head that we needed to keep playing together in order to win,” said senior Sydney McDonough, who scored nine of Riverview’s 14 points in the fourth quarter and led all scorers with 15 points.

“We practice with that mentality of playing as a team, and that really helped us, especially in the fourth quarter.”

Riverview, which overcame foul trouble, cold shooting at times and 20 turnovers, improved to 15-8 and will face No. 2 Bishop Canevin (16-6) on Thursday. Burgettstown, which sought its first postseason victory since 1993, concludes its season at 16-7.

“I feel so good for this group,” Raiders coach Keith Stitt said. “They’re very resilient. They never quit. The kept believing in themselves. We didn’t play well for three quarters, but they dug deep in the fourth and found a way to pull it out.”

Riverview, down by seven heading into the fourth, got a quick five points from McDonough, who sank a jumper and three foul shots to cut the deficit to two at 25-23.

She added two foul shots with 1:51 left to tie the game at 28.

The Raiders took the lead for good with 54 seconds on the clock on a jumper from senior Francesca Lio, and McDonough drained a pair from the foul line with 23 seconds left to salt the game away.

Burgettstown had a couple of chances in the waning seconds, but a pair of shots were off the mark.

Riverview played a majority of the second half without senior starting guard Alyssa Cappa, who fouled out in the third quarter.

Burgettstown led by one, 15-14, at halftime and used an 8-0 run early in the third to extend its advantage.

Senior Emily Prasko, who led the Blue Devils with nine points, started the quarter with a jumper. Avery Havelka, Geena DeMario and Celeste DiVecchio followed suit as Burgettstown led 23-14 with 4:45 left in the third.

The Blue Devils entered the game leading Class 2A in scoring defense at 30.0 points a game, while the Raiders were among the leaders at 37.9 allowed per contest.

Both teams struggled with their offensive opportunities from both short and long range over the first 16 minutes.

Alivia Schultheis, who tallied 15 rebounds, converted a layup, and Annie Betler drained a jumper as Riverview jumped out to a 4-0 lead midway through the opening frame.

Burgettstown didn’t get on the board until DiVecchio hit a jumper at the 4:01 mark.

The Blue Devils held an 8-6 lead late in the quarter before Cappa made a layup at the buzzer to bring the Raiders even.

Burgettstown went without a field goal in the second quarter until Madison Kozares came off the bench to hit a layup with two seconds in the clock. The Blue Devils made 5 of 9 from the foul line in the quarter.

McDonough hit a 3-pointer and added a free throw, and Eleni Wyrick hit a fastbreak layup off a Burgettstown turnover to account for Riverview’s points in the second quarter.

Click to hear an archived broadcast on Trib HSSN.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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