REMSEN - River Valley girls' basketball coach Terry Jensen said he always tells his teams "It takes defense and (making) free throws to win in this game," but chuckled when he said this truism didn't exactly ring true on Feb. 7.
Playing Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn in a Class 1A District semi-final game here, Jensen's Wolverines shot only 33% (10 of 30) from the charity stripe, while Shane Williams' Eagle girls hit 77% (20-26) from the line.
The other "must-have" - defense - was not missing from River Valley's game Thursday, as the team fought back "as they have all season," in Jensen's words, to take a close, hard-fought game by a 57-52 score.
River Valley was led in scoring by Emily Todd, who dropped in 19 points. Jody Peterson added 13 and Alissa Slota 11 for the Wolverines.
Samantha Taylor, who went over the 1,000-point career scoring mark for MMC in her team's regular season final Monday night, led the Eagles with 26 points. Rachel McDermott added eight points, and Jessica Zubrod seven for MMC.
"Samantha had an outstanding game," said MMC coach Shane Williams. "Jessica came off the bench and had a good game, and Kaylee had her best season this year."
Taylor and Zubrod each grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Eagles in that category, while Ahley Schneider had six. McDermott had six steals for the pesky MMC defense, and Jen Mittlestadt and Dreckman tallied five each.
The offensive threat that Todd, Peterson, and Slota give River Valley in the iniside/outside game proved to be just too much for our defenses," added Williams. "They hurt us early with a lot of offensive rebounds, putbacks, and foul trouble."
A total of 46 fouls were called in the game, with the teams combining to shoot a whopping 57 free throws. Both teams had two players each foul out of the game. MMC sank 20-27 free throws, and RV 11-30.