Gabby Wade is focusing on growth — one percent every day — in her first year coaching the River Ridge High School girls basketball team.
The Hawks aren’t quite where Wade wants them to be just yet, but a quick first quarter against Tumwater on Friday night likely showed the flashes of improvement Wade is looking for.
River Ridge spun off 18 points, while holding Tumwater to two, in the opening quarter on its way to a 40-29 nonleague win at Tumwater High School.
“We really worked together. Everybody was contributing,” Wade said. “We got the ball moving on both sides of the court. … We got the ball inside, we got the ball outside, we were pressuring the ball.
“That was great. That’s what got us there.”
Caitlin Yenne — who finished with a team-high 16 points — hit a pair of 3-pointers, and freshman point guard Mia Flores scored eight of her 13 points in the first quarter, as part of an early River Ridge run.
“Early on, I think we were patient with the ball,” said Yenne, a junior. “We weren’t playing selfishly. We were all playing together in the first quarter.
“We all took our time, and passed well and shot well, and the shots were falling.”
Brooke Hare scored Tumwater’s only basket in the first quarter with five minutes, 31 seconds remaining.
The T-Birds didn’t score again for more than six minutes, and had two more scoring droughts longer than two minutes in the second quarter.
Tumwater shot 4 of 21 (19 percent) in the first half, and committed 12 turnovers before River Ridge took a 25-12 lead into halftime.
“We kept the pressure up,” Yenne said. “We knew what we were going against and we kept pressing, and it was shutting them down in the beginning.”
But Tumwater — led by Sierra Snyder who finished with a team-high 16 points — rallied with an 11-point third quarter, while limiting the Hawks to five.
“We started playing selfishly,” Wade said. “We were playing individual ball. We weren’t playing defense, we weren’t finding (Snyder), we weren’t helping out, we were fouling.”
Hare cut River Ridge’s lead to 30-27 with just under six minutes to play, and Flores, one of River Ridge’s top scorers this season, fouled out two possessions later.
“Having her foul out, I feel some players stepped up,” Yenne said. “We had to get together. We knew that we lost a vital player out there, so we needed to get together to make sure to win this game.”
Yenne hit back-to-back baskets, and Meilani Wilson added another to push River Ridge’s lead back to double digits with 2:41 to play. The Hawks held the T-Birds to just one more basket before time expired.
Both River Ridge (7-3) and Tumwater (6-3) return to league play next week.
“We’re learning every game, every practice,” Yenne said. “We’ll see what happens as we go.”
River Ridge 18 7 5 9_40
Tumwater 2 10 11 6_29
RR – Wilson 4, Yenne 16, Flores 13, Erixson 2, Orie 1, Retzlaff 4
T – Hare 4, Snyder 16, Smith 2, Jelcick 7