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4-A Evanston sends Riverton girls home with winless weekend

Dec 10, 2017 By Steven R. Peck, Publisher

A tall and talented Evanston team sent the Riverton High School girls basketball team to a 54-27 defeat Saturday to complete an 0-3 opening weekend for Riverton, but the Casper Invitational introduced a competitive Riverton team that nearly broke its 40-plus-game losing streak on Friday.

The Wolverines led Jackson in the fourth quarter, but faltered late in the game to lose, 55-48. In Thursday's opener, Riverton jumped to an 11-2 lead on Kelly Walsh before the Lady Trojans rallied for the win after a big third quarter.

"We definitely had two of our better games on Friday," said head coach Travis McIntosh. "We competed well, and we had chances. We've got to keep that in mind. We had opportunities to win. Now we just have to find a way to finish. We're still dealing with some inexperience."

Jackson 55, Riverton 48

The Wolverines got a breakout performance from sophomore Naya Shime, who scored seven quick points in the first period, including an unexpected 3-pointer. The 6-footer created good shot opportunities and finished most of them successfully as RHS pulled ahead of Jackson, which also was mired in a long losing streak.

Jordan Lewis doubled up Riverton's inside presence with her best game as a Wolverine. After a scoreless first quarter, she popped for 13 points the rest of the way as Riverton took leads after the first three periods.

Seemingly poised for their first win since 2015, the Lady Wolverines couldn't hold a six-point lead in the fourth quarter as Jackson made a final surge, outscoring RHS 20-8 to end the game, including and 8-0 in the final minutes.

"We lost control of the tempo of the game," said McIntosh. "Instead of playing the game that got us there in the first three quarters, we started to turn it over. We weren't playing with purpose. It was several little things, and they added up."

A crucial moment came when Lewis was injured on the baseline and had to leave the game.

"Jordan did a nice job taking a charge, but she got hurt and couldn't come back in," said McIntosh. "That hurt us defensively when they were making their run. She had hit some timely shots down the stretch, so that hurt too."

Shime's 16 points led Riverton. Lewis had 13, as both Riverton "bigs" had career highs. Leighanna Shoulderblade scored six.

Evanston 53, Riverton 27

An experienced Class 4-A squad was too much for Riverton in Saturday's tournament finale played at Casper College.

"Evanston is a veteran team, and they played like it," said McIntosh. "We struggled offensively."

After managing just five points in the first period, the Wolverines were shut out entirely in the second period. Cydney Bradley first-quarter bucket was RHS's only field goal of the half, as Evanston went to the locker room up 23-5.

"The score isn't what we wanted, but I really believe we made some strides defensively in the second half," said McIntosh. "But we have to rebound better and limit them to just one shot."

Shime had eight points to top RHS scorers. Madi Pantle put in six, including a 4-for-4 performance at the free-throw line. Lewis was able to play, but was held scoreless.

"The nice thing is the way we responded after the Jackson loss," said McIntosh. "It was our best performance today on offense, but the girls were enthusiastic, they were ready to play, and they continued to give a good effort."

Riverton plays this week at the Lander Invitational, with games scheduled against Thermopolis and Douglas, the top-ranked team in Class 3-A.

Jackson (55)

Riverton (48) -- Leighanna Shoulderblade 1 (1) 1-4 6, Cydney Bradley 1 0-0 2, Kelsey Milleson 1 (1) 0-0 5, Jordan Lewis 5 3-5 13, Naya Shime 6 (1) 1-3 16, Madi Pantle 2 2-2 6. Totals 16 (3) 7-14 48.

Evanston 15 8 22 7 -- 53

Riverton 5 0 11 11 -- 27

Evanston (55) Hiatt 0 2-2 2, Barker 0 0-2 0, Groll 3 3-5 9, Wagstaff 2 (5) 3-4 22, Archuleta 1 0-0 2, Robbins 0 2-2 2, Fisner 7 3-5 17. Totals 13 (5) 13-20 54

Riverton (27) Shoulderblade 0 0-0 0, Bradley 1 1-2 3, Milleson 2 1-2 5, Alexxis Motisi 2 0-2 4, Carlee Flanagan 0 1-2 1, Sam Gaudern 0 0-2 0, Lewis 0 0-2 0, Shime 3 2-2 8, Pantle 1 4-4 6. Total 9 9-19 27.

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