LOGAN, Ohio — Cinderella’s clock sounded at the end of the first half … not at midnight.
Top-seeded Vinton County made a 24-1 second quarter surge and ultimately ended the River Valley girls basketball team’s fairy tale run on Wednesday night during a 72-26 victory in a Division II sectional semifinal contest at Jim Myers Gymnasium on the campus of Logan High School in Hocking County.
The ninth-seeded Lady Raiders (2-21) — who entered the contest on a two-game winning streak — needed just four seconds to take their only lead of the night after Hannah Jacks converted a layup off the opening tip, but the Lady Vikings (20-1) responded with eight straight points as part of an 11-3 surge that resulted in a six-point edge just 90 seconds into play.
The Silver and Black countered with five straight points to close back to within a point (11-10) midway through the first, but VCHS retaliated with eight straight points while building its largest first quarter lead at 19-10 with 1:38 left.
Beth Gillman, however, nailed a trifecta with 18 seconds left in the opening frame — trimming the River Valley deficit down to 19-13 after eight minutes of play.
The Lady Raiders were never closer from there, as the Maroon and Gray reeled off a 16-0 run over the opening 5:15 of the second frame en route to a sizable 35-13 advantage.
River Valley — which went 0-for-10 from the floor in the second stanza — broke into the scoring column with a Jaden Neal free throw at the 2:24 mark, but the Lady Vikings countered with seven straight points while securing a 43-14 cushion headed into the break.
Vinton County led by as many as 43 points (62-19) in the third canto before taking a 62-21 lead into the finale. The hosts took their largest lead of the night at 48 points (72-24) with 4:07 remaining in the contest.
The 46-point triumph allowed VCHS to complete a three-game sweep of the Lady Raiders this winter after going perfect in both TVC Ohio matchups. The Lady Vikings won 56-26 at home back on Jan. 27 and also picked up a 79-29 decision at RVHS on Feb. 8.
Vinton County — which has now won seven straight decisions — advances to the D-2 sectional final at LHS on Saturday when it faces fifth-seeded Fairfield Union at 1 p.m.
RVHS coach Stephen Roderick hated to see what had been a magical week come to an end, but the second-year mentor noted his satisfaction in just far his troops had come since the last time they faced Vinton County.
And, truth be told, the distance was considerable.
“In the last week we’ve gone from 37 losses in a row to a winning streak and a tournament win. We have absolutely nothing to hang our heads about after tonight,” Roderick said. “Vinton County has a quality team and I don’t think anybody expected us to be playing in this game anyways, so a lot of the fun was just the journey in getting here.
“We showed some fight early on and the kids did everything I asked of them tonight, but Vinton County simply had too much firepower for us. We had a nice little run, and I’m glad the kids got to experience that after all the work they’ve put in this year.”
After Cassie Bentley’s five-point run gave VCHS a permanent lead in the opening stanza, Darian Radabaugh nailed three trifectas over the final 6:53 of the first quarter while building a two-possession lead.
Josie Ousley scored eight points for the Lady Vikings during their 24-1 second period surge, which also led to a bit of history.
Cassie Bentley converted a layup with 1:42 remaining before half, allowing her to reach the 1,000-point plateau for her career. The basket also gave Vinton County a 40-14 edge at the time.
Ousley scored 10 more points during the third frame as part of a 19-7 run, then the hosts ended regulation with a 10-5 run.
The Lady Vikings outrebounded RVHS by a sizable 54-30 overall margin and also committed 11 of the 37 total turnovers in the game.
The Lady Raiders made 10-of-45 field goal attempts for 22 percent, including a 5-of-23 effort from three-point range for 22 percent. The guests were also 1-of-6 at the free throw line for 17 percent.
Beth Gillman led River Valley with nine points and Kaylee Gillman followed with five points. Jaden Neal and Savannah Reese were next with three markers apiece.
Jacks, Kaylee Tucker and Carly Gilmore completed the scoring with two points each. Cierra Roberts led the guests with six rebounds.
The Lady Vikings netted 29-of-76 field goal attempts for 38 percent, including a 9-of-35 effort from behind the arc for 26 percent. The hosts were also 5-of-8 at the free throw line for 63 percent.
Ousley paced VCHS with a game-high 23 points, followed by Radabaugh with 15 markers. Cassie Bentley was next with a double-double effort of 13 points and 15 rebounds, while Morgan Bentley had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Erin Jones contributed three points to the winning cause, with Adrianna McManus, Laexi Erickson and Lydia Nichols completing things with two points apiece.
It was the final basketball game for seniors Jaden Neal and Carly Gilmore in the Silver and Black.
Replacing those two seniors will be a difficult task, but Roderick believes that the program will have enough experience returning to possibly pull off that feat next winter.
Until then, there’s a lot more work to be done.
“These last few games kind of served as motivation for these girls, so hopefully they can use this to get themselves better in the offseason. With what we should have returning, our future should be bright,” Roderick said. “I am going to miss those two seniors, though. They stuck it out through the hard times and they’ve done everything that I’ve asked of them. They’ve been real leaders of this program and to the younger kids. That’s going to be hard to replace.”
The Lady Raiders finished the year in seventh place in the TVC Ohio standings with losses in all 12 of their games.
River Valley’s last sectional championship came in 1998.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.
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