Riverdale Girls Bring Home The Gold

Riverdale High School

by Wes Talley

When the calendar turns to March sports minds turn to basketball. There’s no exception in Murfreesboro where the city is in the full basketball swing. Earlier this month  TSSAA’s high school basketball state tournament kicked off, being held at MTSU’s Murphy Center. Since then there has been a plethora of excitement, but Saturday the tournament came to its climax. Perennial high school power, the Oak Ridge Lady Wildcats, took on Riverdale’s Lady Warriors for the gold ball.

In true big game fashion no theatrics were held back when the lights turned off and all 10 starters from both teams got individual introductions. Once the lights were back on the players realized this was the moment they had worked for all season and they were ready to play. Staying true to form Riverdale started quick, hopping out to a sizable lead 23 to 5, thanks to hot shooting from Alexis Whittington.  At the start of the second the hype of the championship game had settled and both teams were just playing another basketball game. Oak Ridge showed how they got to this game slowing down Riverdale’s offense to just 14 points in the second. While the Lady Wildcats played tough D, the Lady Warriors did as well and took a commanding 37 to 16 lead into half time.

With both teams 16 minutes away from being crowned queens of AAA basketball the teams took the court, but one young woman was more ready to play then the rest. Tennessee’s Miss Basketball finalist, Anastasia Hayes, took over in the second half. She looked like she was already in track season as she would be on the offensive end of the court before the lady Warriors secured a defensive rebound. Her speed and aggressiveness far out matched any defender Oak Ridge had to offer. Hayes would continue to dominate the game, racking up 27 points and four steals in a route to Riverdale’s first championship since 2013.Final score 68-36 , Riverdale.

Hayes, Brinae Alexander and twins Alexis and Amanda Whittington were named to the all tournament team. Hayes continued to receive hardware being named tournament MVP. Once the celebration on the court was over Hayes and head coach Randy Coffman took questions from the media. Hayes was asked, even though the season couldn’t have ended better will she miss playing with her teammates? She laughed as she responded saying, “Well all of us are on my AAU team and we have practice tomorrow.” The “all of us” Hayes referred to consists Riverdale’s all tournament team selects. She went on to add,

“I couldn’t be happier with the win, it’s all we worked for.”–Anastasia Hayes , Riverdale

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