McGUFFEY — During a season-opening overtime loss to Bluffton on Tuesday night, Upper Scioto Valley coach Mike Risner said he felt his team let the host Pirates dictate the tempo of the game.
When the Rams hosted Riverdale on Thursday night, they were determined not to let the same thing happen.
The Rams took charge as they used their pressure to help build an early 9-0 lead and were able to hold off the Falcons from there on the way to a 45-36 non-conference victory.
Maura Griesheimer and Ali Goldsmith had 12 points each to lead the Rams, while Aspen Rose added 10 points and a team-leading seven rebounds.
Tiffany Wright led Riverdale with 12 points.
“We played at Bluffton on Tuesday night and Bluffton kind of dictated the tempo,” Risner said. “We were kind of soft defensively and didn’t get a lot of pressure on them. I thought we got some good pressure on them (Thursday night) and got the game going our way a few times. … I’ve got three solid seniors and some good young players that just need some experience.”
Both teams are now 1-1 on the season.
While it is Riverdale that typically controls the tempo of games with its pressure, Thursday it was the Rams who used their press to gain the upper hand, forcing Riverdale into seven first-quarter turnovers and going ahead 9-0 after a three-point shot by Shelby Carroll with three minutes left in the first quarter.
Trailing 13-4 after one quarter, the Falcons opened the second eight minutes with a 7-0 run, closing within a pair after a drive to the basket by Kristen Evans with 6:40 left in the first half.
That was when Griesheimer went to work for the Rams, hitting three straight 19-footers against the Falcons zone to extend the Ram advantage back to 19-11.
A basket by Bree Mullins gave the Rams a 10-point lead at 21-11 with 2:20 left in the first half.
Riverdale held a 23-17 lead at halftime, but USV came out with a hot hand in the second half as Griesheimer capped a 7-2 run with a triple to put USV ahead 30-19.
Another trey by the senior with two minutes left in the third quarter made it a 35-21 contest.
Riverdale found some offense over the final 10 minutes of the game from Tiffany Wright, who had eight points on drives to the basket in a four-minute stretch at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth quarter, but was unable to get any closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Riverdale coach Maryanne Holderman said the Rams took her team out of its game plan.
“I really don’t think we played to our strengths tonight,” Holderman said. “One of our strengths is getting to the free throw line and when we’re not getting to the free throw line that’s going to hurt us because that’s one of our strengths.
“I give Upper Scioto Valley credit, they have a nice ballclub,” she added. “They’re quick, they handle the ball well. I felt like in the first half, we weren’t getting much out of our press and they were scoring on the backside of it. I felt like trying to make it a halfcourt game would be more to our benefit, but we just didn’t convert on a lot of our chances.”
The USV coach praised the leadership of his three seniors.
“Our seniors (Goldsmith, Griesheimer and Rose) stepped up,” Risner said. “We had a long talk after the Bluffton game and they stepped up big time for us tonight and we’re proud of them. We talked about pride and the home court before the game and that if the way we played at Bluffton is acceptable, then we’re not going to win much. The girls came out hard tonight and jumped out to a 9-0 lead and that was a key to it.”
Risner added that while Griesheimer provided a boost with her effort on both ends of the floor, she also kept the Falcons’ top player, Jordyn Wright in check, limiting her to nine points.
“I challenged her before the game that (Jordyn) Wright was the key to their team,” Risner said. “She always guards the other team’s top player and she stepped up tonight. She’s been working really hard. She’s been slowed by shoulder surgery and she’s coming around slowly, but she did a great job of leading us tonight.”
Holderman said that while Thursday’s setback was difficult, her team will keep working to improve.
“We’re young and we’re going to make mistakes, but they’re mistakes that are correctable and I think we’ll get better with every game,” Holderman said. “We’re going to learn from this and move on. We win as a team and lose as a team and that’s what the girls said in the locker room. We hope to improve on the positives and keep working on the things we have to get better at.”
The Falcons were 5 of 6 from the free throw line, compared to 0 of 4 for USV.
Riverdale committed 16 turnovers in the game, while USV had 11 miscues.
Risner was recognized by the USV Athletic Boosters prior to the game for winning his 300th career game late last season.
Riverdale won the junior varsity game, 29-23. Skyler Farrow and Taylor Frey had seven points each for the Falcons, while Peyton Sanders had six for the Rams.
Upper Scioto Valley hosts Ada on Tuesday, While Riverdale hosts Liberty-Benton.
RIVERDALE (1-1): T. Wright 6-0-12, J. Wright 2-4-9, Frey 3-1-7, Parish 2-0-4, Evans 1-0-2, Walter 1-0-2. Totals 15-42 5-6 36.
UPPER SCIOTO VALLEY (1-1): Goldsmith 6-0-12, Greisheim 5-0-12, Rose 5-0-10, Mullins 3-0-6, Carroll 1-0-3, Holbrook 1-0-2. Totals 21-45 0-4 45.
3-point goals: Greisheim 2, Carroll, J. Wright.
By KENDRICK JESIONOWSKI
DC-U news bureau
Score by quarters
Riverdale 4 13 8 11 — 36
Upper Scioto Valley 13 10 12 10 — 45
Junior varsity: Riverdale won, 29-23.