Riverdale’s assortment of weapons and stellar defense held off a scrappy Mt. Juliet team in the first round of the state tournament Wednesday. The Lady Bears season came to an end with a 65-54 loss to the Lady Warriors.
Riverdale’s shut down team defense was on full display from the opening tip, as quick hands and athleticism suffocated the Lady Bears. However, Mt. Juliet showed some grit and took the Lady Warriors best shot, only trailing 17-10 after one.
The Lady Bears settled in the second quarter, and started to match Riverdale’s intensity. Seniors Caya Williams and Paige Baugher had some key hustle plays and Williams took care of the ball around the rim to make the difference 27-22 at the break.
The Lady Bears went into a full court zone for part of the third, and it created enough problems for Mt. Juliet to close the gap. By the end of the quarter, the Lady Bears had cut it to 40-38.
Williams started the fourth off with a terrific shot in traffic to tie the game up. Alexa Middleton gave the lead back with a free throw, but MeMe Jackson got behind the defense and laid it in to give Mt. Juliet its first lead.
Riverdale star Shacobia Barbee took the lead back with a two, followed by a three by Middleton, and another two by Barbee. The Lady Warriors kept rolling and Mt. Juliet was never able to recover.
Caya Williams finished her Lady Bear career with another double-double, 16 points and 10 rebounds. Sally McCabe had 14. MeMe Jackson finished with 13. Barbee finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds for Riverdale.
Riverdale went on to win the state title with wins over Memphis Overton and Science Hill. Barbee was named Player of the Year, and State Tournament MVP.
Mt. Juliet ended the season 32-5, with three of those losses coming to Riverdale, one from State runner-up Science Hill and one from semifinalist Clarksville.
Riverdale 65 Mt. Juliet 54
M – 10 12 16 16 – 54
R – 17 10 13 25 – 65
M – Caya Williams 16, Sally McCabe 14, MeMe Jackson 13, Paige Baugher 6, Helen Mitchner 5. R – Barbee 23, Petty 21, Middleton 13, Jones 5, Davenport 3.