Lady Knights headed to Chapel HillPublished 12:15pm Monday, March 10, 2014
Head coach Kirby Maness and the Riverside girls basketball team are one win away from a perfect 30-0 record and a state title after authoritatively defeating Rosewood in the semi-final game, 75-48.
After forcing 37 turnovers against Pamlico County on Friday, the Knights carried the momentum into Saturday’s game, coercing a quality 25-win Rosewood team to turn the ball over 22 times. It was only the Eagles second loss this season.
Freshman standout Kayla Jones may have stolen the show in the quarterfinal game, but it was senior leader Jayln Brown who controlled the offensive tempo on Saturday. Brown used her agility and elusiveness to drive the lane and get to the charity stripe, where she went 7-for-8. Brown finished with 21 points, four shy of a season-high.
Jones was not denied on the either end of the floor, tallying 20 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. D’asya Wilson and Takwana Bland also finished in double figures.
For Rosewood, sophomore captain Lexi Mercer, a player Maness planned on isolating heading into the contest, led her team with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Alicia Burns also finished in double figures with 13 points.
So far, there has yet to be a team to figure out Maness’ high-powered full-court press.
On Saturday, Riverside will match up against Bishop McGuiness, a team from Kernersville, N.C. with a 27-4 overall record. While the Lady Knights have rolled over everyone in their path on the road to the state championship, the Villains have kept it close of late, winning their last three contests by slim single-digit margins.
Like Riverside, Bishop McGuiness relies heavily on its defense to support the offense. In each of the team’s tournament games, an opponent has yet to crest 50 points. That will likely change on Saturday, as the Lady Knights have scored more than 60 points in all but one of their games this season.
Saturday’s state championship game will take place at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, the home court of UNC. Tip-off is scheduled for 12 p.m.