River Dell Varsity Girls Basketball Team celebrates Senior Night with a win over Pascack Hills


The River Dell Golden Hawks Varsity Girls Basketball Team(14-6, 7-1 Big North Patriot) hosted the Pascack Hills Broncos(4-16, 1-8 Big North Patriot) on Senior Night at River Dell High School in Oradell, New Jersey.

River Dell was coming off a 58-51 loss to Teaneck in the Bergen County Women's Coaches Association Tournament Quarterfinals at Fair Lawn High School in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.

The River Dell High School Athletic program held a special pre-game ceremony before the Golden Hawks tipped off against Pascack Hills, honoring seven seniors, Sofia Sanchez, Clare Cahill, Olivia Palladino, Julia Ryan, Helena Marcus, Grayson Grebla, Riley Scagliotti, and manager Melissa Yee.

River Dell Head Coach Linday Steffner on the seven seniors' impact on the River Dell High School Girls Basketball Program: "Overall, their commitment to the program and this group never missed practice and games." "A very committed and loyal group and outstanding role models." "They like each other a lot and enjoy playing together." "You can tell when you talk to them and see the camaraderie around them."

"It's been fun to get to know all of them a little bit better this year except Sofia(Sanchez) because they played JV last year under Coach (Charlie) Weinfeld and had a good relationship with them." "To get to know them at a different level this year and how they've matured since they were young coming into camp and throughout the four years here has been such a great moment for me."

"River Dell is such a great athletic program in general and Denis Nelson(Director of Athletics) does a really nice job of promoting the seniors and their athletes consistently." "It's always a nice program and does a great job of setting the tone and expectations of our players." "The seniors, in general, can get acknowledged, and at some schools, it's not a big deal, but our Booster Club does an outstanding job of decorating the gym, and underclassmen take on a big role of doing some things for the seniors and team building."

The Golden Hawks had to quickly flip the switch to the game at hand against the Broncos and didn't show any letdown in terms of emotions by jumping out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

Pascack Hills responded with a 5-0 spurt, but River Dell countered with a 5-0 blitz. By the time the period ended, the Golden Hawks led 15-9. Sofia Sanchez and Morgan Sconza led the charge with five points apiece.

"We started the game strong and had a pretty good idea Pascack Hills would come out playing man-to-man defense on us like they did in the last game," Head Coach Lindsay Steffner explained. "It was just a matter of us executing and I really wanted us to run the floor." "We did a great job in transition of getting some buckets and able to separate." "I think we put the foot down of the gas and got some really good defensive stops and started feeling good about the game."

River Dell bumped the margin to double digits in the second quarter with a 6-0 run in the first minute of action. The Golden Hawks dominated the style of play with a stifling defense that led to numerous turnovers and transition layups. Morgan Sconza picked up where she left off in the first quarter, tallying nine points, including hitting her second triple of the game.

Once the teams hit the locker rooms for halftime, River Dell pitched a shutout in scoring in the second quarter 17-0 and were up by a commanding advantage 35-9.

"We put the focus on the defensive end most of the time, and if we play good defense, it usually ends up in some transition buckets," Head Coach Lindsay Steffner described. "We also looked around the corner for the open teammate and shared the ball."

Heading into the second half with a comfortable lead enabled Head Coach Lindsay Steffner to put seniors Julia Ryan, Helena Marcus, Olivia Palladino, Grayson Grebla, and Clare Cahill off the bench. Ryan, Marcus, Grebla, and Cahill combined to score 21 points, with Cahill knocking down two trifectas.

"It's just fun to see the seniors being on the court at the same time and they did a great job of moving and sharing the ball very well," Head Coach Lindsay Steffner noted. "Defensively they did a great job and sharp on both ends of the floor and getting the shots they were comfortable at taking."

The Golden Hawks went on to roll to the 53-26 victory over the Broncos and improve to 14-6 overall on the season and 7-1 in the Big North Patriot. Morgan Sconza notched a game-high 14 points.

River Dell returns to action on Thursday, February 8th, squaring off against the Mahwah Thunderbirds(17-5, 8-1, Big North Patriot) at Mahwah High School in Mahwah, New Jersey, with tip-off slated for 7 p.m. The Golden Hawks have won the first two head-to-head meetings this season, including a 41-36 victory in the Bergen County Tournament Round of 16 on January 27th.

"They're a great team and well-coached and been playing very well, Head Coach Lindsay Steffner stated. "To play a team three times a month is not easy to do, and luckily, we have a lot of information on them." "We know their matchups like they know us, and it's going to matter who wants to win this game and who will come out on top." "They're very similar like us with one or two seniors and have some very aggressive young kids, and it's going to be a good matchup." "Our starting five is aggressive and tough and played very well together."

"I told the girls it comes down to playing solid defense and making the hustle plays, and they're fast." "They are quick, and we got to maintain our composure because it's hard to play at Mahwah, and we got to be ready as soon as we step on that floor."

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