Riverview girls come from behind to beat South Allegheny in overtime
South Allegheny found itself in an unfamiliar position on the road Monday in its section game at Riverview.
Not only did the Gladiators have a lead late in the third quarter, but they were in a spread offense to run the clock and play for the final shot.
That was when the complexion of the game changed.
Riverview freshman Sadie Buscher stole an errant cross-court pass and went coast to coast for a layup as part of her game-high 20 points. She then scored four of the team’s 10 overtime points to help the Raiders to a 54-44 come-from-behind victory over South Allegheny (4-7, 0-4) that may have quashed the Gladiators’ hopes of qualifying for the WPIAL Class AA playoffs.
“I think we need to be stronger with the ball on offense,” South Allegheny coach Ashleigh Hays said. “Sometimes we get down after one, maybe two turnovers and we have to learn how to be mentally tough coming back from that; making the right play call and going from there.”
At the time of Buscher’s steal, South Allegheny had opened a 33-27 lead thanks to back-to-back baskets from Abby Dranko. Riverview missed a pair of free throws with 42.3 seconds left, and the Gladiators were in a position to either extend their lead to eight or take a six-point advantage into the fourth quarter.
Then Buscher stole the pass and went in for a layup to cut the deficit to 33-29 with 5.1 seconds remaining. At that point, Riverview turned up the defense and forced four South Allegheny turnovers in the first 1:04 of the fourth quarter as the Raiders engineered a 9-0 run to take a 36-33 lead.
“Sadie’s been in kind of a scoring slump, and I told her the other day that she’s so gifted athletically that she should be able to get eight or 10 points a game off the defensive end,” Riverview coach Keith Stitt said. “We got into it at that point and got a little bit of a lead, but to their credit, they hung in there.”
Jaylee Patterson was one of the big reasons. The senior guard hit a clutch 3-pointer to tie the score at 36, then hit another with 33.8 seconds remaining to knot the game, 44-44, and send it to overtime.
South Allegheny had an opportunity to win the game in regulation after a Riverview turnover with 18.9 seconds left. The Gladiators set up in the offensive half, then called their final timeout with 8 seconds left but didn’t get a shot off before the buzzer.
“Our screens didn’t go as we planned, and it didn’t go as we drew it up, but that happens in basketball,” Hays said. “Every second something different is going on, and you just have to adapt and go with it. We need to be more aware of the clock and the time, and on the last shot, we need to get to that last shot and throw it up.”
South Allegheny may need to win six of its final eight Section 3 games to qualify for the playoffs.
“I think the biggest thing is to keep this positive attitude we have going and to keep working hard every single day and keep executing our plays and everyone knowing their role,” Hays said. “I think we can do good the rest of the season.”