Feb 10, 2013 - By Steve Peck, PublisherSaturday's triumph over Rock Springs was Riverton's first conference victory since 2008.
At last, a breakthrough.
Playing gutsy defense with the game at stake, the Riverton Wolverine girls bested Class 4-A West foe Rock Springs 40-39 in overtime Saturday afternoon.
The victory ended an agonizing five-year conference losing streak for Riverton, which now stands 1-5 in the 4-A West. It also was Riverton's fourth win of the season, more than the win total of the previous three seasons combined.
"That was huge," said RHS coach Ron Porter afterward. "To have worked as hard as we have worked, and to come as close as we have come, and not to be rewarded with a win has been very frustrating.
"I am very proud of these kids, very happy for them. They deserve this."
The sophomore tandem of Kiley Ridgway and Camey Fegler came through for Riverton with 13 points apiece. The 5-11 Ridgway was the meat in a triple-decker defensive sandwich all afternoon as Rock Springs collapsed its interior zone defense around her. She stayed calm and made good use of her nine trips to the free-throw line, nailing seven of them in the late fourth quarter and overtime.
The game resulted in more floor burns than points early on. Referees whistled 10 held balls in the first half as the teams spent considerable time wrestling with each other on the floor for loose balls. It was 6-4 Rock Springs after the first quarter, and 14-11 Tigers at halftime. A late steal and bucket by Fegler drew Riverton to with three just before the half ended.
Porter wished for more points, but he praised his team's hustle.
"We forced some turnovers in the first half and played some very tough defense," he said.
Riverton showed its best poise of the season in the second half, first by erasing a 10-point Rock Springs lead by rallying for a 10-0 scoring run to end the third period and start the fourth. Fegler started it with a nice reverse layup among taller players when Riverton was behind 21-11. Savannah Salisbury followed with a 3-pointer off the glass, and Taylor Harris added a free throw.
Riverton senior Bree Olson drew the task of guarding Rock Springs star Summer Newman, and Olson was effective during RIverton's comeback. Newman's first score of the fourth quarter didn't come until Riverton had come all the way back to tie the game at 21-21. Fegler had Ridgway had the final points in the all, Fegler from the floor and Ridgway from the stripe.
Salisbury hit two big baskets for the Wolverines and the lead traded hands down the stretch, but Riverton still railed 31-29 as Fegler dribbled the ball upcourt with under 10 seconds to play. Ridgway's shot trickled off the rim, but Olson got a rebound and putback that tied it with 1.5 ticks remaining. Overtime.
Rock Springs lost two starters to fouls in the extra stanza, and Riverton took it hard to the basket against the Tiger reserves. Nine times the Wolverines went to the line in overtime, with Olson, Ridgway and Fegler sinking the shots.
Newman single-handedly kept Rock Springs in the game, going 4-4 at the line in overtime and netting long 3-pointer. But she also traveled with the ball under intense pressure from Olson. Fegler's ensuing free-throw gave Riverton the necessary cushion to lock up the win.
"Our kid did not quit," Porter said. "And they do not quit. They just don't. Everyone was in the game. Not everyone played, but everyone was 'in the game.' We're taking a step at a time, and this was a big one."
Newman's 23 points led all scorers, but only one other player managed more than three points for the TIgers.
Riverton hosts Casper Natrona this Thursday, Feb. 14.
Riverton 40, Rock Springs 39 (OT)
Rock Springs -- Haleigh Legerski 1 4-6 6, Summer Newman 7 (1) 6-8 23, Mariah Smith 1 0-0 2, Savanna Freuler 1 0-2 2, Lexy Newman 1 1-5 3, Kelci Howe 0-0-0 0, Stevie Hill 1 1-4 3. Totals 12 (1) 12-25 39.
Riverton -- Kaitlyn Wells 0 0-0 0, Bree Olson 1 2-2 4, Kiley Ridgway 3 7-9 13, Camey Fegler 4 5-10 13, Annie Phister 0 0-1 0, Savannah Salisbury 2 (1) -0 7, Jensyn Pettit 1 0-3 2, Maci Evans 0 0-0 0, Taylor Harris 0 1-1 1, Celia Logan 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 (1) 15-27 40.
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