Feb 24, 2014 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterDespite woeful shooting and committing 21 turnovers, the Riverton Lady Wolverines managed to keep Saturday's Class 4-A league battle against the Casper Kelly Walsh Lady Trojans close until the bitter end.
But KW's Kristen Franke, heavily guarded and facing away from the basket on the right side after Riverton defended the final possession well, threw up a hopeless-looking 8-foot shot that rolled around the rim, looked like it was going to roll out, but finally dropped in with no time on the clock to give KW a 45-43 win over Riverton.
The loss was critical for Riverton (9-12, 3-5 Class 4-A West). A win would have kept Riverton in contention for a second-place league finish. Now, Riverton will hope to finish no worse than third, and will likely have to play a first-round state-tournament play-in game at their regional tournament.
"I love these kids to death. But I would love it if they would make their layups and minimize turnovers," a frustrated Riverton head coach Ron Porter said after Saturday's game.
The Wolverines will try to bounce back against Green River Tuesday evening at Wolverine Gym. Varsity girls game time is set for 5 p.m.
Kiley Ridgway led all scorers with 14 points, and Savannah Salisbury sank three 3-point shots and added two free throws to end with 11.
Emily Erdahl scored 11 for Kelly Walsh (7-11, 4-5 Class 4-A West), and Kathy Nganga added 10.
Rverton fell behind by six early in the third quarter but stayed in the game despite struggling with KW's trapping press. To its credit, Riverton was also able to cause some turnovers, and Deni Lou Nicholls hit two free throws at the end of the third quarter to put Riverton up 35-31.
The Lady Torjans tied the game at 37-37 with just under five minutes left to play, and neither team managed more than a two-point lead the rest of the way.
The game looked like it was going to overtime when Lady Wolverine Jensyn Pettit calmly sank two free throws with 16 seconds on the clock, but Franke's prayer at the buzzer doused Riverton's hopes.
"We shouldn't win if we don't deserve to win," Porter said.
Casper Kelly Walsh 15 8 8 14 -- 45
Riverton 11 8 16 8 -- 43
Casper Kelly Walsh (45) -- Rachel Franke 2 0-0 4, Sofia Hoff 1 3-6 5, Kristen Franke 2 3-8 7, Emily Erdahl 2 7-7 11, Kathy Nganga 4 2-5 10, Molly Fretland 0 0-0 0, Olivia L'Ami 2 (1) 1-2 8, Abbie Weythman 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 (1) 16-28 45.
Riverton (43) -- Savannah Salisbury 1 (3) 0-2 11, Jensyn Pettit 0 2-2 2, Maci Evans 0 0-0 0, Kiley Ridgway 5 4-6 14, Camey Fegler 1 5-6 7, Andrea Roseno 0 0-0 0, Morgan Doyle 1 0-0 2, Deni Lou Nicholls 2 3-4 7. Totals 10 (3) 14-20 43.
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