Richland may have been playing its first game since December 19, but the No. 2 seed Bears showed few signs of rust on the floor, especially shooting the ball, in a 68-31 win over No. 7 St. Elizabeth in the Osage Tournament Wednesday night.
Richland, which only employed seven players on the floor, was efficient as all four Bears who scored were in double-figures. Senior Morgan Moss led the way with 22 points while fellow senior Jessi Whittle displayed her sharp-shooting abilities with seven 3-pointers for 21 points, freshman Katelyn Cole knocked down 14 and senior Brittany Latham finished with 11.
“I knew we would be a little bit rusty coming in because it is the first game we’ve had in over 30 days. We turned the ball over a little bit and did not work that hard on the defensive end as I would’ve liked, but we shot the ball well,” Richland coach Charley Parker said. “We did a good job of executing what we wanted on the offensive end. We just have to take care of it (the ball) a little bit better and pick it up on the defensive end.”
Richland used a 13-0 run to jump out to an early lead in the first quarter and held a comfortable 38-15 advantage by halftime, from which St. Elizabeth could not recover. The Bears won the turnover battle, coughing up the ball only 10 times while forcing 26 St. Elizabeth turnovers and were looking to utilize a similar formula Thursday night in a Frisco League showdown for the semifinals against No. 6 Dixon. Parker said the biggest key would be his team’s legs.
“I’m only playing seven girls right now and have one injured so we have to come back tomorrow night and have legs,” the coach noted. “We really have to stress getting the ball into the paint, handling it and getting them to turn it over. We played them earlier in the season and got them by 35, but we cannot take anyone lightly. We have to come out and take care of business.”
Should Richland have advanced, they will face the winner of No. 1 Osage and No. 5 Crocker in the championship on Saturday at 4 p.m. A loss would place the Bears in the third place game on