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​​River takes down Shenandoah in sectional final 62-36

HANNIBAL — To hear River High girls coach Rick Isaly put it, his senior all-Ohioan Kelsey Harlan wanted to put her stamp on a final appearance at the Lady Pilots’ R.L. Potts gym, Saturday afternoon.

In a Division IV East District sectional final, Harlan’s game-high 30 points and court awareness propelled second-seed River past Shenandoah, 62-36, in front of a large turnout at the wheelhouse.

A third win over the Lady Zeps sends Isaly’s 22-3 record crew to a District semi-final against county rival and #3 seed Monroe Central (19-5) at 7 on Wednesday at St. Clairsville. It’ll be the fourth meeting between the schools this season.

The other District semi on Wednesday pits top-seed Hiland (22-2) versus 5-seed Strasburg (19-5). The District final is set for Saturday, March 2 at a site to be determined by the OHSAA.

“(Kelsey) plays hard and wanted to leave an impression in her home floor finale,” said Isaly, of his 5-6 four-year vet, one of River’s all-time best. “She sees the floor, had some big steals and directed our offense.” Harlan led all rebounders with 11.

The Lady Pilots received a big effort off the bench from senior Tessa Prim, who had 10 points and muscled her way under the glass with nine boards. Junior Reese Hobbs and sophomore Zoey Fox split 14 points, freshman Maci Isaly collared six rebounds, while junior Kaylee Hagan was a big part of the River effort on both ends.

Coach Sami Hall’s Lady Zeps (11-13) attempted a slower pace after blowout losses (35 & 26 points) to River during the regular season, but couldn’t find the range early on.

A ‘3’ from Kendal Snyder pulled the visitors within 12-9, but Fox’s layup and a swish from Harlan created a 16-9 reading after one. Hobbs and Harlan each had six in the opening round.

Shenandoah pared it to 21-15 with 4:40 showing, but the OVAC 2-A champs reeled off the final 10 points of the half. Fox and Prim converted underneath on assists from Hobbs, Prim rebounded, while layups from Harlan and Isaly made it 31-15 at the quarter.

“We continued our pressure to open the second half,” said Isaly, “and it gave us some open looks and we drew some free throw opportunities to build the lead.”

Harlan scored under the glass and Fox drilled a ‘3’ for a comfortable 37-17 spread and the Lady Pilots, 10th rated in the final AP poll, finished a 21-4 run behind Prim to make it 42-19.

At 46-27 after three, Harlan left no doubt on the outcome with three quick hoops while classmate Emma Reed added one of her own to make it 54-28 with 5:04 left.

River finished the fourth with a 16-9 scoring edge before cutting the nets to celebrate a third straight Sectional title.

Both teams shot 49 per cent from the floor, River (27-of-55) to the Lady Zeps’ 16-of-33. Shenandoah had 16 turnovers to River’s eight.

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