By Ben Stroup
The Buckeye Valley girls basketball team did a lot of things well to hang around, but River Valley’s bench negated most of it as the Vikings pulled away to post a 60-46 Division II district semifinal win Tuesday at Ridgedale High School.
“We fought and fought and fought,” BV coach Landon Fraker said, “but, kind of like our entire season, we would play well for a stretch then have a letdown. I’m proud of the girls, though … I thought they deserved better.”
The eighth-seeded Barons held the district’s six seed to just 38-percent shooting (22-for-57). They won the rebounding battle, too, 32-28, but the Vikings’ bench outscored the Barons’ 24-2.
Turnovers and free throw shooting also hurt BV. The Barons turned the ball over 31 times, 21 of them a result of River Valley steals, and they made just two of their nine shots from the charity stripe. The Vikings put up 29 more shots than Buckeye Valley from the field.
Buckeye Valley was outscored 22-16 in the first quarter, but played even with River Valley in the second to trail by just six, 34-28, at halftime.
The Barons were still within striking distance, down 51-42 after three, but were outscored 9-4 in the fourth to smooth out the scoring summary.
Morgan Scowden led Buckeye Valley with 13 points on the strength of 3-for-4 shooting from three-point range. She also tied Alaina Radcliffe for the team lead in assists with three.
Logan Hatcher, Megan Veneman and Tess Hughes also produced in the setback. Hatcher finished with a double-double, 10 points and 10 rebounds, Veneman closed with 10 points, three rebounds and two assists and Hughes chipped in six points, 10 boards and a team-best five steals.
Morgan Lott led the Vikings with a game-high 20 points thanks in part to her six three-pointers. Kendall Stuckman and Jensen Lewis, who led the charge off the bench, were also steady, finishing with 14 points apiece.
Buckeye Valley and River Valley, both members of the MOAC-Red Division, split their two regular-season matchups. The Barons won the first before the Vikings knocked them off in overtime in the regular-season finale.
With the win, River Valley will take on ninth-seeded Hartley, a 47-23 winner over third-seeded Johnstown, in Friday’s district final.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.