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SMITHFIELD – A strong start and just enough at the finish was the recipe for success for the Riverhawks Thursday night at Bobcat Gym.

The Ridgeline girls basketball team stormed out to an 11-point lead in the first quarter against Sky View in a Region 11 game. The Bobcats won the second, third and fourth quarters to force overtime. The Riverhawks made just enough plays in the extra period to prevail, 51-49.

“Basketball is a game of runs,” Ridgeline head coach Ainsli Jenks said. “We had a great start, and then they (Bobcats) made a run. I was proud of my girls for fighting the whole game. Sky View is a great team and well coached.”

There was a gamut of emotions for the home team, who didn’t take its first lead until there was 4:20 minutes to play in regulation.

“It’s hard when you lose a close game like that because you think of every little thing that could have gone differently,” SV head coach Vanessa Hall said. “Ridgeline is a great team. To know that we can hang with them … to battle back against a team of that caliber shows a lot about our team and what we are capable of.”

The Bobcats (9-6, 1-1 region) only enjoyed the lead for 30 seconds. They had their chances down the stretch.

“A game like this will prepare us for the state tournament,” Hall said. “There were mistakes on both sides and then some things that were fantastic on both sides. It was just a great basketball game. It was unfortunate for us that they ended up two points ahead at the end.”

Both teams made big plays, missed shots and also missed some free throws late. In fact, Sky View went 8 of 10 from the foul line, but both misses came in the fourth quarter. The Riverhawks (14-1, 2-0) were 11 of 14 from the free throw line, with all of their misses coming in the closing seconds of regulation and in the OT.

“I thought my girls showed some maturity in being able to continue to fight against a veteran team,” Jenks said. “When we went down, we didn’t collapse, but showed some maturity.”

With the game knotted at 47-47, both had chances to win in regulation. Ridgeline turned the ball over, and Sky View missed a shot just over midcourt.

In overtime, points were really hard to come by. Macie Brown scored first for the Riverhawks with a wild play in the paint.

“I don’t know what that was; I was just trying to score,” said Brown, who finished with a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. “... I just think rebounding and defense was the key in this game.”

Sky View would tie it up again at 49-49 when Hannah Radford drove to the basket for two.

Elise Livingston provided the margin of victory for Ridgeline, sinking a pair of free throws with 45 seconds left in overtime.

The Bobcats had two possessions after that, but missed a shot and turned the ball over.

Emilee Skinner finished with a game-best 21 points for the Riverhawks. The freshman also had eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Melanie Hiatt led the Bobcats with 18 points and three assists. Macy Hellstern added 12 points and three assists, while Radford added 10 points.

“Mel is so tough on the inside,” Hall said of Hiatt. “She is a phenomenal basketball player.”

Both started the game scoring off a steal. Skinner put the Riverhawks early, then Hellstern tied it. Ridgeline would then go on a 12-2 run and take a 17-6 lead into the second quarter.

“We were just really energized at the first,” Brown said. “The energy kind of died down, but we were able to bring it back up in the end.”

The Bobcats battled back with an 8-0 run to start the second quarter. Hiatt had her first of four three-point plays on the night.

Ridgeline took a 22-16 lead into halftime.

“To spot them 11 points at the start, that killed us,” Hall said. “Then we outscore them in the second, third and fourth. I was really proud of the girls for not hanging their heads after that first quarter. They fought and clawed their way all the way back.”

Hiatt and Skinner heated up in the third, but it was Mya Garfield with a rebound bucket for the Bobcats near the end of the third that sparked the home team. Ridgeline held a 35-32 lead going to the fourth.

Sky View just kept battling right to the end, but the Riverhawks made enough plays to get the W.

“Ever since we lost to them last year in the semifinals (at state), we’ve wanted to beat them,” Brown said.

OTHER GIRLS GAMES

In other region games Thursday, Mountain Crest finds itself atop the standings with Ridgeline after a 66-15 win over Logan. Green Canyon bounced back with a 55-46 victory against Bear River. In Idaho, Preston picked up its third straight district win, thumping Pocatello, 54-32.

At Hyrum, The Mustangs (9-5, 2-0) jumped all over the Grizzlies (0-10, 0-2) in the first quarter, building a 26-2 lead and never looked back. Mountain Crest was up 43-8 at halftime and 61-10 going into the fourth quarter.

“We started out strong and played really well,” MC head coach Megan Smith said. “As a team, we were 11 of 12 from the free throw line and only had six turnovers. … It’s such an exciting thing when we have so many contributors on our team.”

Nine girls scored for the Mustangs as Sadie Coggins led the way with 16 points on 9 of 11 shooting. She had 10 of her points in the opening quarter. Havyn Brown netted 13 with seven in the first quarter. Hadli Barrera and Kali Jones each added nine points. Barrera also had four steals, while Jones led the team in rebounding with seven. Lexie Coggins had four steals, while Paige LaRocco grabbed six rebounds.

The Grizzlies got four points each from Erika Rose, Ashley Hilera and Layla Smart.

“We are improving on things that don’t show up in the stat book,” Logan head coach Tori Craner said. “Losses happen, but what really matters is how we come back tomorrow and the next day.”

At North Logan, the Wolves (7-5, 1-1) bounced back from a disappointing outing on Tuesday. Green Canyon outscored the Bears (3-10, 0-2) each of the first three quarters to build a 44-33 lead, which was more than enough to get the win.

“Our girls battled tonight,” GC head coach Alexis Bird-Clegg said. “Bear River is a good team, and it’s always good to get a win. We’ve got some work to do to be prepared for the second week of region play. Overall, we are proud of our girls and their resiliency.”

Brooke Monson and Cambree Tensmeyer each were able to get back to their scoring ways with 19 and 15 points, respectively. Maren McKenna had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. She also had five assists and five steals. Tensmeyer also had three steals and three assists, while Monson grabbed five boards.

Kate Dahle led the Bears with a game-high 21 points.

At Pocatello, the Lady Indians (10-6, 3-0) from Franklin county scored 21 points in the first quarter and 20 in the fourth to complete the season sweep of the Gate CIty Indians (7-10, 1-2).

“I’m really pleased with the effort from our girls tonight,” Preston head coach Ryan Harris said. “Last game against them we allowed No. 45 (Kennasyn Garza) a ton of offensive rebounds and 26 points. I haven’t seen the rebound numbers, but I know we did a lot better.”

Plus, the Indians held Garza to seven points.

Riley Ward and Mickayla Robertson each scored 14 points to lead Preston. Amber Anderson netted 13, while Hailey Meek added nine. Anderson led on the boards with eight, while Robertson had seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and blocked three shots. Ward came up with seven steals, and Meek had five steals.

BOYS GAME

West Side opened district play with a dominating 51-29 victory over visiting Malad. The Pirates scored 29 points by halftime.

“It was a good win at home for our first district game,” WS head coach Tyler Brown said. “The hustle was there. We just need to shoot the ball better.”

Bryler Shurtlff scored 10 points in each half to lead the Pirates (7-5, 1-0) with 20 points. Parker Henderson added nine points against the Dragons (3-11, 0-1).

Shawn Harrison is the sports editor at The Herald Journal. He can be reached at sharrison@hjnews.com or 435-792-7233.

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