Riverland#039;s second-half spurt not enough

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 11, 2003

It would have been easy for the Riverland women’s basketball team to simply give up after it found itself down by 20 to Ridgewater at halftime. While the Lady Devils ultimately fell short by a count of 74-58, Riverland put a scare into the visitors before finally running out of steam.

The first half was not as lopsided as those who wandered in at halftime might have thought. Jenny Schnaufer had her jumper going early on to help Riverland keep pace with the Warriors. While Ridgewater did hold the lead for nearly all of the first half, they were plagued by turnovers and shots that just wouldn’t go down.

In the last five minutes though, the Warriors began to show why they’ve lost only four times all season. Michelle Buboltz rained down one three-pointer after another, finishing the half with four of them, while Vicki Buseman had her way inside en route to 14 points at the intermission.

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The overall lack of size for the Blue Devils was illustrated by two consecutive putbacks off missed free throws by Ridgewater in the waning moments of the half. A final three by Sarah Kelm right before the buzzer capped a 20-5 run to end the half for Ridgewater, as it cruised into the locker room with a 47-27 advantage.

Whatever Riverland head coach Suzy Hebrink said to her Devils at the intermission must have worked, as her squad came out on a 10-0 run to start the half. This surge clearly unnerved the Warriors, who not only missed their first 10 free-throws but also got a technical foul called on head coach Carrie Ogdahl for yelling in the referee’s ear as he ran by.

While Ridgewater continued to roll their eyes at the officiating, Riverland was busy putting together a spurt that got them to within three points at 49-46. The catalyst for this uprising was Bridget Burzinski, who used a combination of long-range shooting, dribble penetration and aggressive defense to get her 15 second-half points.

The Devils would get no closer, however, as Buseman started to take over in the paint. She finally hit some free-throws, which made her that much more unstoppable when she wanted to post up.

In the end, Burzinski could not carry her team any closer as Riverland’s offense became more ragged and its defense began to wear down from the continued assaults from Ridgewater’s front line.

Burzinski finished with 23 points and Schnaufer added 19. Despite their efforts, Riverland dropped to 3-17 and 1-8 in league play.

Ridgewater’s inside-outside duo of Buseman and Buboltz had 28 and 19 points, respectively, with Kelm adding 10 and Liz Warner nine before fouling out. The Warriors improved to 17-4 and 5-4 with the win.

Riverland will be back in action next Saturday at Bethany Lutheran College.


RIDGEWATER (74) -- Monica Ohmacht 0, Sarah Kelm 10, Michelle Buboltz 19, Vicki Buseman 28, Brittani Boehlke 6, Liz Warner 9, Wendy Lyle 0, Amy Herkenhoff 0, Rashelle Gable 0, Amber Bessler 2.

RIVERLAND (58) -- Bridget Burzinski 23, Hannah Tvedt 3, Jenny Schnaufer 19, Stephanie Vollbrecht 2, Shelly Sorenson 1, Becky Herrmann 2, Katie Berg 5, Tanya Jensen 3.

Halftime score -- Ridgewater 47, Riverland 27.

Free-throws -- Ridgewater 20-34, Riverland 22-31.

Three-pointers -- Ridgewater 6 (Buboltz 5, Kelm); Riverland 4 (Burzinski 2, Schnaufer, Jensen).

Fouled Out -- Warner.