River Dell varsity girls basketball team rolls past Holy Angels for 20th victory this season


The River Dell Golden Hawks varsity girls basketball team was coming off a tough 54-36 loss to Saddle River Day in the Bergen County Women's Coaches Basketball Tournament Semifinals at Ramapo High School. River Dell returned to action hosting Holy Angels (8-7) on Rec Night at River Dell High School.

Holy Angels certainly did not resemble a .500 team in the first quarter by jumping out to an 8-0 lead. River Dell struggled to get into a rhythm committing turnovers, missing shots from the perimeter, and unable to find open lanes to drive into the paint.

The Golden Hawks held scoreless for the first nine minutes and six seconds of the quarter until Sarah Vanderbeck scored on a fast-break lay-up. By the time the period ended, Holy Angels had led 8-2.

River Dell Head Coach Lindsay Steffner on the first quarter, "Coming off a big emotional game on Sunday and emotionally not being upfront right away that's what we saw but credit to Holy Angels they came out and made the plays." "It did take us a while to get it going and we couldn't buy a basket early on."

The Golden Hawk's offense found some much-needed consistency in the second quarter to trim the lead to 8-7 at the six-minute mark. The bench provided a significant spark with Ari Rodriguez draining a triple tie the game up at 10-10, followed by Kasey Ziegler burying a trey to put River Dell ahead at the 2:20 mark. Once the teams hit the locker rooms for halftime, the Golden Hawks were up 13-12.

"Once the baskets started going in, we started setting up our press differently, and they struggled to get into an offense when they broke our press," Head Coach Lindsay Steffner explained. "Kasey's shot was tremendous and exactly what we needed at that point, and we had three kids in foul trouble and four starters out and gave us a boost and brought so much energy." She has so much raw athletic ability it's hard for the other team to guard her and creates mismatches right away when she comes in.

Moving to the third quarter Holy Angels reclaimed the lead on two occasions, but Sarah Vanderbeck buried a trifecta to put River Dell up 18-15 with five and half minutes remaining. The Golden Hawks continued to build the lead, with Kayla DePol contributing six points.

Meanwhile, Sarah Vanderbeck was in the zone, tallying seven additional points. Vanderbeck displayed the ability to slash through the lanes and drive to the basket for lay-ins. When the period ended, River Dell widened their advantage to 34-19.

"I called a specific play that's really designed for Sarah, through the growth of the season her confidence has come on and she is seeing the court very well right now," Head Coach Lindsay Steffner described. "She is reading the plays right now on taking a jump shot or on a pick and roll."

"The defensive effort picked up in the third quarter, Sarah and Kayla have been playing so well together." "When there was a loose ball Kayla just took off and Sarah knew to get the ball down the court and that's just them playing instinctually well together and for song long." Kayla knew just like Sarah with the pick and roll and pick her battles and when to attack and got to the foul line and one of our top shooters.

Sarah Vanderbeck, on the ten-point outburst in the third quarter, "Coach (Lindsay)Steffner called this one play that was geared towards me to go off the screen and told me to do whatever I see." "Whether if any of the post players are open or I have a shot to take it and kept working and told me to be aggressive." It feels good when those shots go in, and the ball goes into the basket. I give the rest of the team props for driving and kicking the ball out.

Sarah Vanderbeck and Kayla DePol combined to score nine points in the fourth quarter, with Lizzie Puentes coming off the bench to supply six points. The Golden Hawks are going to cruise to the 46-26 victory and notch their 20th win of the season. Vanderbeck finished with 17 points, while Kayla DePol added 10 points.

Head Coach Lindsay Steffner on the win, "I'm proud of the effort we had set out early in the season." "To hit the 20-win mark is phenomenal." I'm happy with how the season unfolded this year, a couple of home games in a row and the first round of the states(playoffs). Kudos to the girls for playing hard and putting us in a situation to keep those home games.

River Dell(20-2, 8-0 Big North Patriot) wraps up the regular season facing off against Paramus Catholic on Saturday, February 26th, with tip-off set for 1:00 p.m.

Sarah Vanderbeck, on the seniors playing their final regular-season home game at River Dell High School, "It's definitely sad and a lot of emotions." "Coach (Lindsay)Steffner has said it a couple of times to the seniors you just to put it out on the line and play the hardest you can and just what we have been trying to do."

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