Mar 7, 2014 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterIt's Riverton's first state tournament qualification since 2003.
CASPER -- The11th time was a charm. The Riverton Lady Wolverine basketball team's days of waiting to play in the Wyoming state tournament are over.
Exploding with a 12-0 to start in the third quarter in their must-win first round game at the Class 4-A West regional basketball tournament at Kelly Walsh High School, Riverton ended Evanston's season with a crushing 42-22 win Thursday evening.
With the win, the Lady Wolverines advance to a regional semifinal game Friday at 7 p.m. against top-seed Casper Natrona and are guaranteed a return trip to Casper to play in next week's state tournament, their first appearance since 2003.
"It's emotional, and I am so proud of our team," a hoarse Riverton head coach Ron Porter said.
Both teams started slowly Thursday, and the Wolverines committed turnovers on four of their first five possessions. Camey Fegler got Riverton on the board with a 3-point shot midway through the quarter but the Lady Wolverines found themselves trailing 7-4 after one quarter.
As the second quarter started, the Wolverines switched to a zone defense. They also, showed more confidence on offense, and Maci Evans's 3-point shot pulled Riverton even at 9-9 with 5:48 remaining in the quarter.
With the score 13-13 and 1:35 remaining before halftime and with Evanston also hanging back in a zone defense, Porter instructed Fegler to hold the ball for a final shot, and Fegler stood near midcourt, unchallenged, for almost 90 seconds before getting into a final offensive set that gave the Wolverines a good look, a shot by Evans just missed.
"I figured at least we would be tied at halftime, and I did not want (Evanston) to get momentum. We'll start over zero to zero," Porter said.
Riverton guard Savannah Salisbury, who could not play when the two teams met Monday because of illness, hit a 3-point shot as the second half started and followed with another basket and free throw to give Riverton a lead it would never give up. Kiley Ridgway, who led all scorers with 14, hit the next six straight. Jensyn Pettit's rebound and hoop kept the Wolverines in front 29-17, and Riverton's state tournament drought appeared to be over.
"We talked about our defense at length at halftime and switched our zone defenses/. It was effective. We rebounded very well. I thought they would make a run. I was a little concerned," Porter said.
Evanston was forced to foul late, but Salisbury, Fegler and Ridgway hit seven of eight free throws down the stretch to preserve the win.
Evanston 7 6 3 6 -- 22
Riverton 4 9 14 15 -- 42
Evanston (22) -- Sarah Frakes 3 3-4 10, Brinae Sanders, 1 0-0 3, Ashlee Thornock 1 1-2 3, Kylie Hurd 1 0-2 3, Kaylee Horton 1 0-0 2, Alli Barker 0 2-4 2. Totals 8 6-15 22.
Riverton (42) -- Kiley Ridgeway 4 6-6 14, Camey Fegler 2 (1) 3-4 10, Savannah Salisbury 1 (1) 3-3 8, Jensyn Pettit 2 2-4 6, Maci Evans 0 (1) 1-2 4, Deni Lou Nichols 0 0-0 0, Megan Doyle 0 0-0 0, Kenisha Muehler 0 0-0 0, Jacee Shultz 0 0-0 0, Hannah Hauck 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 (3) 15-19.
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