Girls basketball: River Ridge defense comes up big
NEW PORT RICHEY - River Ridge coach Joeyn Dearsman was not too happy with her team's defensive effort the last time out in the Royal Knights' 59-51 loss to East Lake. Dearsman made sure this time around vs. Land O' Lakes, her squad would lockdown defensively and keep Gators' forward Simone Brown in check the entire game. The Royal Knights used a suffocating defense to limit Brown and River Ridge would force 23 turnovers and cruise to a 46-28 Class 6A-District 10 victory over Land O' Lakes on Tuesday night. "No doubt about it, Simone (Brown) is a great player," Dearsman said. "We knew if we could take her out of the offense, we'd have a better chance of winning. Defensively in our last game, our defense wasn't there. That was our No. 1 key to the game was our defense." Both teams jumped out to a fast start as Brown notched six points and six rebounds in the period and River Ridge's Vashoula Kostogiannes caught fire and scored eight. The Royal Knights, though, would clamp down on the Gators and institute more full-court pressure and by halftime forced Land O' Lakes into 11 turnovers.After a rough third quarter for both teams, River Ridge started to pull away from Land O' Lakes (2-1) with junior 3-point specialist Jessica Ball scoring two jumpers to start off the quarter. Ball's three-pointer with 5:36 remaining in the game put the Royal Knights (2-1) up 38-26 and help them put the game away. Brown ended up with 12 points, 15 rebounds and four assists and Gators' guard Sarah Nichols chipped in nine points. RIVER RIDGE 46, LAND O' LAKES 28 LAND O' LAKES (28) – Brown 4 4-4 12, Nichols 4 0-0 9, Gregory 2 0-0 4, Sheets 1 1-4 3. 11 5-9 28. RIVER RIDGE (46) – Ball 6 0-0 15, Kostogiannes 5 4-6 1 4, Ford 5 1-2 11, Femind 1 1-2 3, Stark 1 0-0 2, McCann 0 1-2 1. 18 7-12 46. Land O' Lakes 12 2 12 2 – 28 River Ridge 16 9 5 16 – 46 3-point goals – Nichols 1 (L); Ball 3 (R). Record – L 2-1 R 2-1.