Knights topple Rocky Mount Prep, continue storybook seasonPublished 12:06pm Thursday, February 6, 2014
The Riverside girls basketball team continued their historic run by knocking off Rocky Mount Prep on Wednesday, 79-31.
“The very start of the game we were very lackadaisical,” said Head Coach Kirby Maness. “We didn’t have the intensity, we didn’t have the drive. It was about two-and-a-half minutes in when I pulled all five of my starters out and pulled five off the bench. They came in and picked up the intensity.”
The reserves’ effort is a testament to this team’s depth, as Sunterea Highsmith, Takwana Bland and Shakera Alexander elevated the pace of the game in preparation for the starters’ return. Once the trio of Riverside captains—senior guards Jalyn Brown and Dabrieka Burnett and forward D’asya Wilson—reentered the game, there was no stopping the Knights’ signature high-powered offensive bombardment.
Kayla Jones, one of 1A Two Rivers Conference’s top talents, could no be stopped in the paint, snatching virtually uncontested offensive rebounds and dropping 24 first-half points. Riverside’s leading scorer finished with 29.
“Once [the starters] came back, they picked up the intensity and kept it throughout the game,” said Maness.
Despite the early criticism Maness had toward his team, the Knights had a commanding 50-6 lead over the Jaguars at the half.
The large lead allowed Riverside to give junior varsity and reserve players substantial playing time in the second half, including Tonnette Wiggins, who, despite being a generous 5-foot tall, took on the Jaguars forwards and earned some tough points down low.
Wilson finished with 12 points, while Brown ended with a quiet 10 points. Rocky Mount’s Kiera Bryant finished with 17 points.
With the win, the Knights stay perfect and improve to an 18-0 record and 6-0 in conference play.
“That’s one of our many goals we have for the season, to win every game that we have and win conference again,” said Maness. “This is a brand new conference. We’re trying to make sure we keep focused on our main event, to make a deep run in the playoffs.”
In order to meet their goal, the Knights will have to win four games in six days to close out the regular season. They hit the road tonight to take on South Creek.