The City girls basketball team Friday night faced Riverdale Baptist - traditionally one of the toughest teams in the state - for the fourth straight time in the fourth annual Breezy Bishop Showcase at Western.
This time Riverdale Baptist won, 56-45, as it had in each of the three previous meetings. But this time it was not a blowout, and the No. 7 Knights went home with hope for the rest of their season.
"They had quick guards and could make their foul shots," said City senior guard LaShay Taft, who scored 11 points and will attend Syracuse next year. "We played hard, but we slacked off a little bit [in the second half]. I think we got tired, but coach called timeout and we got it back together. This is a good team. We just have to work harder in practice."
City played the Crusaders tough in the first half, somehow managing to keep pace despite Riverdale Baptist's speed and the Knights' errant shooting. Down 14-8 at the end of the first quarter, City used teamwork and a balanced scoring attack to climb back into the fray. Jumanah Giles scored on a layup, Kayla Dillard added four points, and Carissa Shropshire, who led all scorers with 13 points, started to heat up with back-to-back baskets, one a 3-pointer. At the half, Riverdale Baptist's lead was just 27-25.
"In the second half, our shots fell and our mind-set was to hustle more on defense," Crusaders coach Diane Richardson said, "and that gave us the confidence we needed."
City took the lead on a jumper and a foul shot by Dillard (seven points) to open the second half, but Riverdale Baptist's speed and quick hands forced the Knights into a run of six turnovers that seemed to sap their spirit. Still, with Shropshire and Taft continuing to contribute offensively and Giles and Dillard leading a determined defense, City stayed within four points going into the fourth quarter.
"To be honest, I think we just ran out of gas," City coach George Petrides said. "And then they got some steals and easy layups. Their guards were very quick, but I'm not disappointed. With a few corrections, I think we can do well in our league. We're not going to find too many teams this quick, outside of Western and Digital Harbor."
Archbishop Spalding 74, Friendship Academy 36: : The Cavaliers, led by junior guard Maggie Morrison's 16 points, used defense to pressure the Knights into early mistakes and then finished off the ensuing offensive opportunities in transition.
RB-Gross 1, Jones 8, Chase 10, Richmond 8, Williams 8, Franklin 9, Atkinson 8, Heslip 4. C-Bell 2, Taft 11, Shropshire 13, Dillard 7, Giles 6, Dawson 6. Half: RB 27-25.