The Weeki Wachee Girls Basketball team (8-4) lost their matchup at River Ridge High School (5-4) by a score of 50-29 on Thursday night. The Royal Knights were able to get back in the win column after dropping their previous contest to Wiregrass Ranch 68-58. The Hornets were on a four-game winning streak, the most recent of which being an 11-point home win over Crystal River, before being upended by River Ridge.
A few minutes into the contest, the Hornets put the first points on the board thanks to a field goal by senior Princess Hester. This lead was short lived though and proved to be Weeki Wachee’s only lead of the night as Royal Knights sophomore Juliana Ferguson would respond right back with two points of her own. Freshman Lauren Lee knocked down a three off an inbounds pass quickly thereafter and junior Olivia Litaker would knock down two more field goals.
This was indicative of what was to come. The team clad in purple and white would score early and often in the opening period, amassing 16 points and building an 11-point lead.
The second stanza was much of the same. Some poor shot selection by the green and black gave way to two quick three-point possessions for River Ridge’s junior Morgan Nichols. The Royal Knights also helped themselves with some crisp passing to create positive opportunities as they jumped out to a 24-5 lead early in the second.
The rout was on. River Ridge went into the break holding a 24-10 lead. Fortunately for the Hornets, they came out in the second half and held serve with River Ridge a bit more than in the first. In contrast to the opening half’s eight points off free throws, the second half saw Weeki Wachee make more field goals and a total of 19 points.
The stories of the game were offensive execution and, ironically considering Weeki Wachee’s mascot, River Ridge’s swarming defense. Offensively, the Royal Knights made great shot selection and passed the ball with authority all evening. Whenever the Hornets had the ball, River Ridge defenders surrounded them and swatted away a plethora of potential shots.
While certainly not the performance Head Coach Billy Hughes and company were looking for, Princess Hester did eclipse the double-digit mark in points, logging a total of 15 with 3 field goals. She also went 9 of 12 on her free throws, knocking down a respectable 75 percent from the charity stripe.
Sophomore Paige Atwater chipped in nine points on a trio of three-point shots with a steal to boot. Senior Caroline Mcarthur put three points on the board while managing seven boards and an assist. Senior Mya Gomes rounded out the scoring with two points and registered four rebounds.
Leading the way for Head Coach Joeyn Dearsman and crew was Olivia Litaker with 13 points. Freshman Lauren Lee also knocked down 12 points of her own for the Royal Knights.
River Ridge will go on to play the winless Tarpon Springs Spongers (0-8) Tuesday evening. The next game on the docket for Weeki Wachee is a matchup at the 5-6 Springstead Eagles on Monday night.