Determined Brewster helps redeem Hawks

Contributing writerFebruary 1, 2014 

Jazzlynn Brewster was powerless the last time her River Ridge girls basketball team squared off against Black Hills.

The high-scoring senior was forced to watch the game’s conclusion from the bench after picking up her fifth foul.

The end result was a buzzer-beating victory by the Wolves.

Brewster knew the rematch would be different even after she was whistled for her fourth foul late in the contest.

“It wasn’t going to be like last time,” Brewster said. “Not when it’s the last time I play on this court.”

Brewster scored a team-high 23 points and helped the Hawks pull away down the stretch to knock off the visiting Wolves, 72-49, in a 2A Evergreen Conference clash Friday.

River Ridge (14-3, 7-3 EvCo) had much to celebrate on Senior Night after the Hawks closed out the game on a 16-0 run.

Over a 30-second span midway through the fourth quarter, the Hawks had three players pick up their fourth foul. The list included Brewster and fellow starters Rebecca Stevenson and Savannah McGill.

The scene was almost identical to the last time the Hawks faced Black Hills (16-3, 7-2) on Jan. 3, when the Wolves pulled out a win, 62-61.

“The last time we played I picked up my fifth foul right after I returned to the court,” Brewster said. “That was tough, watching us lose from the bench. We’re a different team now. We’re much more disciplined.”

Brewster was not only able to avoid the disqualification, but she and her teammates also excelled down the stretch, turning a 56-49 battle with just under four minutes remaining into a rout.

A bucket by Brewster was followed by a pair of field goals from McGill. Throw in a few Kyla Coleman free throws and the run was on.

“The girls responded at the end,” River Ridge coach Jackie Robinson said. “That loss to Black Hills was the turning point for our season. I remember going into the locker room and having a heart-to-heart with all of them. That set the tone for the rest of the season and since that game our only loss has been to W.F. West and that was by three points.”

The loss hurts the Wolves’ chance at claiming the EvCo title.

Black Hills, which plays league leader W.F. West on Tuesday, needs to win its two remaining games and have the Bearcats drop both of their games to force a tie atop the standings.

Sarah McGee was sensational in the paint for the Wolves, scoring 22 points.

The Hawks also received 17 points from Coleman, and 10 from McGill.

Brewster outscored Black Hills by herself in the third quarter, going off for 12 points while the Wolves struggled to score 11, helping River Ridge’s lead balloon to 52-43.

“She is a electrifying playmaker in the open court,” Robinson said. “She’s incredible.”

River Ridge led 36-32 after a very physical first half.

The Hawks’ frontcourt took a blow early as starting forward Stevenson was whistled for her second foul just 55 seconds into the game.

With Stevenson absent from the paint, McGee controlled the middle for the Wolves, scoring 14 points in the first half, several coming on offensive putbacks.

Coleman scored the first eight points for River Ridge, with all four of her field goals assisted by Brewster.

The Hawks opened the second quarter on a 7-0 run to grab a 24-17 advantage with 6:19 left in the first half.

Taylor Sauls and Nicole Nurmi both had nine points for the Wolves.

BOYS BASKETBALL

At River Ridge 66, Black Hills 55: Jason Kananin scored 18 points, and teammate Kobe Key added 11 to power the Hawks over the Wolves in 2A Evergreen Conference play.

Freshman T.J. Mickelson paced Black Hills with 18 points.

River Ridge (10-8 overall, 7-3 EvCo) held a 41-36 lead with 71/2 minutes to play but used a big fourth quarter, highlighted by an Austin Parker dunk, to pull away.

“We always want to finish quarters,” River Ridge coach John Barbee said. “We’re a young team. We start three sophomores. So there’s going to be those ups and downs, but I was very pleased with how we played in the fourth tonight. We’re getting better as a team.”

LaBrandon Price chipped in 10 points for the Hawks.

The Wolves also got 11 points from Casey Duff, and 10 from Tremarcus Hackney.

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