River outlasts Shenandoah in double OT

MORRISTOWN – Tournament time is all about surviving and advancing.

River survived not once, not twice, but three times Monday night inside ‘The Hangar’ at Union Local High School in girls’ Division IV sectional tournament action.

After 40 minutes of action, the fifth-seeded Lady Pilots finally navigated their way past No. 8 Shenandoah, 60-56, in double overtime

“Wow! What a game,” River head coach Rick Isaly said with a huge sigh of relief. “We never gave up, and I give the girls all the credit for that.”

River (15-7) trailed by as many as six twice in the fourth quarter before Haylee Bowers dialed long distance with nine seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 46. After a timeout, the Zeps (13-8) missed an easy chance, sending the game into overtime.

Then, leading 50-47 with a minute remaining in the 4-minute extra session, the Pilots watched Shenandoah score back-to-back baskets to take a 51-50 edge on Raechel Rossiter’s jumper from the foul line with 4.2 seconds on the clock and no timeouts for River.

Bowers quickly inbounded the ball to Landyn Ramsay who collided with a Zeps player in front of the Shenandoah bench as the ball rolled away. While the Shenandoah faithful was celebrating victory, a foul had been called on the Noble Countians with no time on the clock.

Ramsay, who hadn’t attempted a free throw all game, misfired on the first attempt. However, the senior calmly tickled the twine with the next shot, sending the contest into a second overtime.

“I was nervous and didn’t know what to think before the first shot, and then I was really nervous after I missed it. I was shaking,” she admitted. “But I heard coach Isaly say ‘take a deep breath’ and I took a deep breath and it went in.”

Ironically, it was Ramsay that gave River the lead for good at 54-52 a minute into the second OT and sophomore sensation Jensen Caretti meshed three crucial free throws down the stretch to seal the deal.

“We didn’t come out like a ball of fire, but we really stepped it up in the second half,” Isaly said. “We kept chipping away, eventually tied it up and had chances to win it in the first overtime, but we turned the ball over.

However, it all worked out and that’s the most important thing,” he added.

Caretti, River’s 6-foot do-everything, was at the helm of the comeback with a triple-double. She stuffed the stat sheet with 30 points, 15 rebounds and 10 steals, while also swatting away five shots and handing out three assists.

“They were double- and triple-teaming her and we couldn’t get a call in the first half,” he continued. “But, we stuck to our game plan. I told her it all goes around her. She finally listened to me.”

With all of those impressive numbers, Caretti didn’t do it alone.

“There were key baskets by everyone,” Islay admitted. “Landyn came off the bench and played a great game. That free throw was a big shot with nobody on the line and the game on the line.”

The teams were deadlocked at 10 after the first quarter before River went cold from the floor (3-for-17) in the second 8-minute stanza and Shenandoah took a 26-16 lead into the lockerroom at the half.

The Zeps committed eight of their 27 turnovers in the third period as the Pilots slowly, but methodically, crept back in it.

Ramsay finished with 11 points, all in the second half and five in the two overtimes, and four steals. Bowers added 10 and half-a-dozen rebounds.

River returns to Union Local Thursday at 8 p.m. to meet fourth-seeded Conotton Valley. Scoring:

SHENANDOAH (56) – King 2-8 3-6 7; Arick 0-3 2-2 2; Hall 7-13 3-5 17; Wukelich 5-8 2-4 13; Rossiter 1-4 1-2 3; Wheeler 5-6 0-0 10; Dollison 2-4 0-2 4; Dixon 0-0 0-0 0; Rich 0-0 0-0 0; Brown 0-0 0-0 0; Totals: 22-46 11-21. RIVER (60) – Caretti 10-17 9-11 30; Goudy 0-5 0-0 0; A. Caldwell 3-12 0-3 6; Bowers 2-6 4-6 10; Potts 1-4 0-0 2; Ramsay 5-10 1-2 11; Marshall 0-1 1-2 1; Winkler 0-1 0-0 0; Curtis 0-0 0-0 0; Totals: 21-56 15-24.

Three-Point Goals: S: 1 (Wukelich); R: 3 (Bowers 2, Caretti)

North can be reached at knorth@timesleaderonline.com