River Dell Varsity Girls Basketball Team muscles past Ramsey in the Big North Patriot Division opener


The River Dell Golden Hawks Varsity Girls Basketball Team (5-4, 1-0 Big North Patriot) hosted the Ramsey Rams(4-3, 0-1 Big North Patriot) in the Big North Patriot Division opener at River Dell High School in Oradell, New Jersey.

"It's nice to play the first league game at home, especially since we've been on the road a lot, and playing home in front of our fans was important for us," River Dell Head Coach Lindsay Steffner cited. "The next three are on the road, and at least we get one game under our belt and get into league play." "Now the grind starts every other game and day, and you're preparing for another opponent." "It's hard; every game matters, and you must have a different strategy and scheme."

River Dell was coming off a thrilling 54-50 victory over Pascack Valley in the third-place game of the Joe Poli Tournament at Pascack Valley High School in Hillsdale, New Jersey. Kasey Ziegler paced the Golden Hawks, scoring 14 points, while Sofia Sanchez added 12.

River Dell and Ramsey struggled to score in the first quarter as shots fell from the perimeter and missed in the paint and low post. The Golden Hawks took an 8-6 lead at the end of the period, with Morgan Sconza totaling four points.

Sofia Sanchez caught fire behind the arc in the second quarter, knocking down two shots. Meanwhile, Morgan Sconza continued to dominate on the offensive end, amassing five points, including a trifecta that propelled River Dell to a 19-11 advantage.

However, the Rams answered with a 7-0 run to narrow the margin to a single. The Golden Hawks, looking to stem the Ramsey surge, received that in a spectacular driving layup off glass from Morgan Sconza as River Dell led 21-18 at halftime.

"We were getting offensive rebounds, but we're struggling to finish off at times, but we were getting to the foul line Head Coach Lindsay Steffner explained. "We were a little out of sync, but that happens with two days off, and we couldn't practice." "We were still flying high from the Pascack Valley game without practicing and reviewing much about Ramsey's team and came out a little flatter than I wanted offensively."

Once the third quarter got underway, Kasey Ziegler provided a significant spark on the offensive end, dropping eight points. Ziegler scored in various ways from the perimeter, driving to the rim for layups and knocking down a pair of shots from the foul line. By the time the quarter ended, the Golden Hawks extended their advantage to 32-24.

"Kasey is such a force for us right now, she's confident and having fun," Head Coach Lindsay Steffner described. "She's really seeing the game the right way, and when it came down to it, she was going to get either high percentage shots or get to the foul line, and Ramsey's defense couldn't stay with her down low."

In the fourth quarter, the game became physical, with numerous fouls assessed against both teams. River Dell rose above and widened their margin to double digits at 38-28 on a corner trey by Morgan Sconza.

"We were locked in the second half, and you could see how tired Ramsey was getting, and our players spelled blood," Head Coach Lindsay Steffner noted. "Dalia(Interiano) ran around with Ramsey's leading scorer(Charlotte Auty), and she didn't get too many good looks with Dalia guarding her, and it plays to what we want late in the game." "Late in the game, we knew we were going to make a run because we would outlast the other team."

The Golden Hawks could cruise the rest of the way behind clutch free throws, with Morgan Sconza hitting four shots while Sofia Sanchez drained a pair of foul shots as River Dell cruised to the 45-33 victory. Sconza poured in a game-high 16 points, Kase Ziegler supplied 14 points, and Sofia Sanchez added 12.

"Defensively, to hold a team to 33, we played well," Head Coach Lindsay Steffner stated. "I told the girls not to worry about the score right now because we'll make a run, and we did late in the game, which was great."

"The players are playing many minutes right now and trying to get them into a flow together." "We just haven't hit our stride yet where we feel comfortable executing on offense as well as I think we can, but they're playing tough and going to come out with wins based on those characteristics." "When we're having a night of shooting or not in sync, we're muscling out a lot of tough wins right now, which is great to say."

River Dell returns to the hardwood court on Thursday, January 4th, against the Westwood Cardinals(4-4, 0-1 Big North Patriot) with tip-off set for 7 p.m. at Westwood Regional High School in Westwood, New Jersey.

"River Dell-Westwood matchups are always a great game, and it's going to be physical and tough road game for us," Head Coach Lindsay Steffner mentioned. "Westwood returns a lot of players from last year, and some are coming in with injuries, but they're playing well right now." "They can shoot the ball well, especially freshmen, and have an inside presence and can actually step outside and score inside and are very well coached and disciplined." "It's going to be an excellent game."

I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified