Using their inside size, the Riverside Lady Rebels managed to hang around for a half with the Melbourne Lady Bearkatz in the semi-final round of the Class 2A North Region Tournament Feb. 27 at Cedar Ridge High School in Newark.
Then, using their superior quickness, ball handling and shooting, the Lady Katz, holding down the number three spot in Class 2A, turned on the jets in the second half and sprinted to a 65-47 rout of Riverside.
Melbourne had worked hard to build a 36-30 advantage at the half, but the Lady Rebels opened play in the second half with a 3-pointer from Michelle Cobb that cut that lead in half.
Minutes later, Brianna Driver, Riverside's big interior presence, hit a hoop in the paint and Katey Campbell tacked on a deuce and free throw to knot the game at 38-all with 5:45 left in the third.
Then Melbourne got serious and hit the Lady Rebels with a devastating 15-zip run to blow the doors off Riverside.
Sara Adams, ruler of the paint for the Lady Katz, got this spurt started with a bucket down low. Adams finished with 14 points for Melbourne. Kaylee Ables (four points) followed with a layup and then Maggie Cooper racked up back-to-back-to-back steals, turning those swipes into a layup and free throw for herself, plus another bucket from Adams. Cooper ended the evening with a game-high 20 points for Melbourne.
Finishing what they started, Adams tossed in three free throws and Cooper mailed in a long-range trey to cap the Lady Katz' 15 unanswered points, giving Melbourne a 53-38 lead and breaking wide open a game that had been tight-sledding in the first half.
Amanda Treat (nine points) scored the first five points of the fourth for Melbourne and Kenzi Gillihan (12 points) capped the Lady Katz' scoring in the game with a charity toss at the end of their 18-point victory.
Making her way back to action after suffering a hard spill in the district tournament finals, Maggie Caraway (six points) made her presence felt by drilling a triple near the end of the first period to give Melbourne a 16-15 lead after the first period. Riverside kept pace with the Lady Bearkatz in the second period, although Gillihan and Treat notched a 3-ball each to edge Melbourne out in front 29-23.
The Lady Rebels had cut this to a three-point Melbourne lead when Caraway struck again with another trey, this one beating the second-period buzzer to give the Lady Bearkatz a 36-30 lead at intermission.
The Lady Bearkatz pushed past the Turrell Lady Rockets 67-57 Feb. 25 in opening-round play from the tournament.
Adams logged 16 points in the game, while Treat had 11. Cooper and Ables posted 10 points apiece. Gillihan and Hannah Billingsley finished with six points each, with Kelsie Dale adding five and Tori Taylor three. Emily Carroll scored one point for Melbourne.