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Two in a Row for Pilots

Flannery named MVP of OVAC Class AA title tilt

February 13, 2019

Down 39-28 heading into the fourth period in a winner-take-all OVAC Class 2A title match, the River Pilots showed a huge crowd at the Ohio University Eastern Field House what they were made of.

The Lady Pilots cashed in 12-of-16 free throws and outscored the top-seeded Shadyside Tigers, 27-10, in the fourth period alone, that included a 13-2 run to win their second-straight OVAC Class 2A title by the score of 55-49 Feb. 9.

With most of Monroe County in attendance, the River side was jam-packed as the Beallsville Blue Devils stayed to support their neighbors, chanting as much as the River crowd - which seemed to ignite the huge River fourth quarter.

Article Photos

Photo by Bruce Crawford
Pictured are the members of the 2019 OVAC Class AA champion River Pilots girls basketball team, coaching and support staffs.

The Pilots' future Lake Erie point guard, and the only two-time John Howell MVP, Lauren Flannery scored eight of her game-high 23 points, fueling the fourth quarter with back-to-back two-pointers. Teammate Ali Long, who played with her heart on her sleeve in the final period, sank 2-of-2 from the free throw line before River head coach Rick Isaly and his staff called a timeout at the 6:23 mark.

After a Shadyside deuce, senior Candace Caldwell ripped the cords with a bonus bomb, as well as a two-pointer off a Flannery steal and assist that forced a Shadyside time-out just inside the five minute mark.

After the break, Flannery knocked down a deuce that tied the game-up at 41-41 with 4:12 to play. The Lady Tigers answered with a free throw, but Riley Lollathin really got the Pilots' faithful on their feet with a nice jumper in the paint to give River its first lead at 43-42.

Shadyside, which had scored a trio of three pointers in the third period, couldn't pull the trigger yet in the fourth and settled for a deuce to re-take the lead. But the Pilots, who were down double digits for most of the second period, got two baskets by Long and Caldwell gave the Pilots lead for good at 47-44.

Shadyside, which was in the one-and-one sank both, but Flannery went to the free throw line for the fifth time and missed the front end of a one-in-one.

The Tigers gave the Pilots a gift with a very-costly turnover, and River would call another timeout to set up the final 2:16 of play.

After a few seconds of play, River senior Carsyn Reynolds made a steal and was fouled and sank the two-shot double-bonus free throws. Lollathin and Flannery each followed with one-of-two freebies.

Long also made a free-throw, but a Pilot violation halted the next opportunity, and the Tigers called another timeout with 52 seconds remaining in regulation.

Flannery added one of two free throws before Shadyside tickled the twine from beyond the arc, but Reynolds ended the game with two free throws.

"This is a huge win for these girls. This gave us a mountain of confidence by the way we came back," Isaly said.

Flannery led all-scorers with 23 points, while she collected seven rebounds, four steals and dished out four assists. Caldwell followed with 15 points, including a pair of three-balls. Reynolds tacked on eight points

In addition, Long recorded six points, while grabbing 10 rebounds and making a steal. Lollathin added three points. Macey Coffland was the only double-digit Shadyside scorer with a dozen.

The Pilots made one more field goal than Shadyside. The Tigers made seven from beyond the arc, and the Pilots made two. River was 7-12 in the first three periods, before making 12-16 in the fourth. The Tigers only shot 1-13 for the game.


Lady Pilots Beat Steubenville Catholic Central, 69-50

The Big Three of Lauren Flannery, Alli Long and Carsyn Reynolds put the icing on the cake as the trio combined for 56 points, while they and the supporting cast held Steubenville Central in check, 69-50. The girls basketball action happened Feb. 4 inside the R.L. Potts Gymnasium, and with the victory, the River Pilots will take on Shadyside once again in the OVAC Class 2A Championships.

The River defense turned up the heat in the first quarter, forcing countless turnovers to build a 21-12 first-quarter lead thanks to Reynolds and Riley Lollathin leading the charge with six and four points, respectively.

The Pilot defense continued to hound the Lady Crusaders, again forcing turnovers and picking up easy buckets, as the Pilots held the third-seed Crusaders to a mere eight points. Long led the 13-point second-quarter with five markers to give the hosts a 14-point lead at the break.

"That was our strategy," said River Head Coach Rick Isaly. "We wanted to press them early, get some steals and score off the turnovers. We did a good job of getting them early, but Central held its ground."

The Central Catholic squad showed some of why they were the third seed, as they outscored the Pilots, 14-12, to close the gap a little, heading into the final period of play.

The Big Three put it all together in the final eight minutes of play, scoring all but three of the Pilots' 23 fourth-period points to get the chance to win a second consecutive OVAC Class 2A championship against a familiar foe in Shadyside, who beat the Pilots in their last meeting, Jan. 21, 55-48.

"We talked about this game being the rubber match," Isaly said. "We haven't really played a quality team since our last Shadyside game. So it's been about two weeks. We wanted to come out with a lot of energy, and we did. We just didn't always execute and get points off the turnovers we forced."

Julia Zatta knocked down 21 points, including two bonus bombs, to pace Steubenville Central, while Bella Oliver added nine. The Crusaders struggled from the charity stripe, connecting on only 15 of 26 attempts, while the Pilots were 13-20.

The Big Three also combined to tally 17 of their team's 25 rebounds, 12 of their team's 18 steals, and all but one of their team's 13 assists.

Flannery paced the Lady Pilots with a game-high 23 points, and also led the team in assists with seven, while racking up five steals and four rebounds.

Long and Reynolds followed with 18 and 15 points, respectively. Long racked up six boards and added one steal, while Reynolds led the team in rebounds, with seven, and steals, with six. She added five assists for a good night work.

In addition, Lollathin netted five markers, while Candace Caldwell netted three points. Livi Rose and Jonayah Moeller each scored a deuce, while Mikenzie Cieszeski finished off the River scoring with a free throw.



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