Rick Isaly knows what junior Landyn Ramsay is capable of. Before Wednesday's OVAC Class AAA semifinal against Shenandoah, he had a little chat with her, hoping to extract some of that potential.
He didn't quite expect the response received.
Ramsay scored a game-high 14 points, including knocking down a pair of huge 3-pointers during a key stretch in the second quarter as the Pilots (16-5) advanced to Saturday's Class AAA final opposite Fort Frye with a 56-39 win against the Zeps.
RIVER’S EMILE Weaver looks for room to dribble the ball during Wednesday’s Class 3A contest against Shenandoah. The Pilots won.
"Landyn can play but the last four or five games we haven't gotten a whole lot out of her scoring wise," Isaly said. "I talked to her before the game about the need to come in and contribute and she did. She played well offensively and defensively and really held her own."
River and Shenandoah battled back and forth throughout the first quarter, with neither team owning more than a one-point advantage.
Taylor Arick canned a 3-pointer to trim the Pilots lead early in the second quarter when Ramsay hit the court.
She proceeded to knock down two consecutive triples, pushing Rive'rs lead to 21-14.
That was just the spark the Pilots needed. Ramsay's quick outburst provided a cushion that Isaly's club never relinqushed as Shenandoah never got closer than five points after that.
Ramsay knocked down four buckets in the second half to close out of 6-for-6 effort from the field.
She was backed by Cassidy McCullough's 12 points and nine apiece from Laken Ramsay and Jensen Caretti.
Along with the younger Ramsay's efforts, Isaly pointed to a few key areas that fueled the Pilots' success Wednesday.
One was his team's post defense.
In a recent loss to the Zeps at Hannibal, River had issues handling Rachel Rossiter.
Freshman Jensen Caretti was up to the challenge this time, swatting five shots and holding Rossiter to nine points.
Not only that, but the pairing of Caretti and Haylee Bowers owned the boards. Bowers snagged a team-high 10 rebounds while Caretti had seven as the tandem kept Shenandoah off the offensive glass and with nary a second-shot opportunity.
"Jensen blocking shots makes a difference and she and Haylee did a good job rebounding and actually created some fast-break opportunities by getting the rebound and getting outlet passes down court."
Shenandoah struggled mightly in the second half offensively. A major factor in that was Rossiter and Ashlee Wukelich sitting on the bench in foul trouble. Both picked up their fourth fouls early with Wukelich eventually fouling out.
The Zeps' sophomore had eight points, all in the first half, while Kaysey King and Arick each joined Rossiter with nine apiece.
SHENANDOAH (39) - King 4 0-0 9; Arick 3 0-0 9; Hall 1 0-0 2; Wukelich 4 0-1 9; Rossiter 4 0-0 9; Fogle 1 0-0 2; Wheeler 0 0-0 0; Totals: 17-49 1-3 39.
RIVER (56) - Lak.Ramsay 2 5-6 9; Bowers 2 2-3 6; Weaver 2 2-2 6; McCullough 5 0-1 12; Caretti 4 1-2 9; Jones 0 0-0 0; Lan.Ramsay 6 0-0 14; Young 0 0-1 0; Totals: 21-45 10-15 56.
Three-point Goals: Arick 3. McCullough 2, Lan.Ramsay 2.
Hughes may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org