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Pilots Take Down Eagles

January 16, 2019

HANNIBAL - Whenever River girls' basketball is discussed, the conversation - rightfully so - usually begins with Lauren Flannery.

The future Division II collegiate point guard is the engine that makes the Pilots go.

It's sometimes overlooked, however, that she's surrounded by a talented cast.

Article Photos

Photos by Bruce Crawford
River’s Lauren Flannery helps spark the Pilots’ past cross-river rival Magnolia.

All were on display - and needed - Monday evening against cross-river rival Magnolia.

Flannery led three double-figure scorers and did a whole lot more than just score in helping to lead the Pilots to a repeat win over the Blue Eagles, 75-52, in front of a large and vocal crowd inside the R.L. Potts Gymnasium.

"Everyone thinks we're a one-man team, but we're definitely not," River coach Rick Isaly said.

Flannery scored 31 points, but Reynolds finished with 12 and hard-working post player Alli Long - despite giving up a lot of size - found her way to 10 points, too.

"They had some other girls step up pretty big, so we had to account for them and that kind of left Lauren to do a little bit more than we wanted," Magnolia coach Meredith Pilant said.

"You prepare for Lauren, but Reynolds and (Riley) Lollathin hit some big shots, too. It's hard when you key in on that one player and you're kind of ready for that it makes it tough."

With Flannery and classmate Carsyn Reynolds controlling things on the perimeter, the Pilots (11-2) were able to carve up Magnolia's 1-3-1 zone pretty effectively.

Despite a definitive size advantage for the Blue Eagles (8-2) with Mady Winters and Kyndra Pilant, both of whom played well and again controlled the glass, the Pilots still got most of their points going to the basket.

"We've been working on that zone since we played them (in New Martinsville)," Isaly said. "We knew where we needed to be and what girls needed to get the ball in which spots. The key was knocking down some shots early."

The Pilots knocked down shots early and late. They led 13-8 after one and the track meet ensued from there.

Sparked by a technical on the Blue Eagles bench, which also led to a fan ejection, the Pilots embarked on an 11-0 run. Magnolia, however, used the fractiousness of the atmosphere to its advantage to finish the half on an 18-8 run to make it a 32-29 reading at halftime.

Reynolds, who finished with 12 points, scored half of her production in the second quarter. Flannery netted five and senior Riley Lollathin hit a 3 to spark River.

Winters, who was a force on the interior, scored 13 of her team-high 22 in the first half.

"We knew they were bigger and more physical than us, so we had to double some," Isaly said. "I thought we did a good job for the first three quarters."

Magnolia also received a lift from sharpshooter Aquera Cabral, who drained four of her five bonus goals in the opening half.

In the second half, River had a 15-2 run in the latter portion of the third, which actually stretched into the fourth. Magnolia clawed within 10, but the Pilots closed with another spurt. This one was a 17-4 run.

"We would get on a nice run, but we'd have a few mental mistakes and then it just got away from us at that point," Pilant explained.

Joining Winters and Cabral in double figures for the Blue Eagles was Pilant, who had 11 points.



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