Lady Rams Suffer Early Playoff Exit

River News-HeraldThe Rio Vista Lady Rams’ season came to an end last Tuesday night at the hands of the Ripon Christian Lady Knights.

Heading into the playoffs, Rio Vista had plans bigger than simply getting a taste of the postseason – they wanted a shot at the title. Unfortunately for them, they simply couldn’t get their offense rolling.

The crowd was bigger and louder than any previous home game that I had experienced this season; it was great to see the town, students and faculty out showing their colors. The Rio Vista High School gym was festively decorated, music playing loudly, and the Lady Rams clearly had home court advantage.

It was a slow start to this one, both teams were extremely sloppy – Rio just a bit sloppier than Ripon – and eventually the Knights got off to a 13-5 lead with 1:26 to play in the opening quarter. The Lady Rams tried to make their way into the paint by forcing passes to their star center Taylor Porter, but Ripon had planned on not letting Porter beat them and clogged up the key all night. At the end of the first, the Knights scored on a perfectly executed press break and it was 15-5 to end the quarter.

The second quarter was much of the same as the Rams offensive stagnancy continued. While their defense wasn’t bad, they just plain and simply could not score. As Rio began to wear down, Ripon slowly crept away. The Lady Knights went into the locker room at half time with a 27-11 lead.

Briefly in the third quarter the Lady Rams looked as if they had a chance to get back into the game as Ripon was over passing, essentially passing up on easy opportunities to score. But the Rams had zero outside shooting after hitting a lot of threes during the regular season. Their game plan from the opening tip was to get the ball into the low post, and they weren’t deviating from it. Oddly enough, Porter is the one who stepped out and knocked down a long-range triple to end the quarter. She gave her teammates an ironic grin as she headed towards the bench.

Much like the end of the first half, at the end of the second half the Rams ran out of steam. As the Lady Knights continued to slowly but surely pull away, you could hear Rio Vista head coach Sierra Fawn yelling at her team to run hard and hustle “baseline to baseline.” This was the message that she instilled into her players from day one and what got them into the playoffs. Fawn preaches hustle and tough, hard nosed, smart play – and she did so right up until the final horn of the season. She eventually called timeout down big with 3:57 left in regulation and emptied her bench. The Ripon Lady Knights would go on to win by a final score of 53-35.

While the Lady Rams’ season came to an end earlier than they had hoped, they had an incredible run this year, finishing the season with an overall record of 16-9 and a league record of 9-3.

Top performers for the Lady Rams were Kyera Mackey with 10 points and Taylor Porter, who grabbed 10 rebounds and was double and triple teamed all night.

For the Lady Knights, Jessica Van Vliet scored 17 points and Molly Hoeksema finished with 14 points, five rebounds and four steals.

Ripon Christian went on to play Capital Christian and lost 48-38.

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