While the Lady Raiders have certainly endured their share of growing pains with a 3-7 record, a couple of big wins recently gave them some hope for the future.
Riverwood defeated Region 7AAAAA foe Sprayberry 61-55 Dec. 13 and then beat Blessed Trinity 61-55 in overtime – overcoming a 14-point deficit in the process – Dec. 14.
“Those two wins were basically invaluable,” new Riverwood coach Tony Manning said. “Just to give the girls some confidence and to show that they can actually be competitive at a high level and can battle through adversity, so it was really awesome to see that.”
In the victory over Sprayberry, 5-foot-8 senior guard Daizha Tate-Edge scored 29 points, while 5-6 sophomore guard Jala Wilson added 13 points, 5-9 sophomore guard Daija Staten contributed eight points and 5-2 sophomore point guard Hannah McKinley had six.
Tate-Edge once again led the Lady Raiders in their win over Blessed Trinity with a career-high 34 points, while Wilson added 12 points, 5-8 sophomore forward Kaitlyn Harris had seven points, Staten had six and 5-10 post player Mariyah Farr chipped in five.
Manning, who replaced Vanessa White at the helm, inherited a team that lost most of its key players from last year and have only one senior —Tate-Edge — on the roster to go with its large group of sophomores and freshmen.
“We’re a young team,” Manning said. “It’s kind of a rebuilding season for us. We’re getting a young group of girls together and we’re trying to build some chemistry, build some teamwork.”
Manning also saw some promise in his young team in a 65-34 loss to St. Pius X Dec. 7 – a game in which the Lady Raiders led the defending Class AAA state champions by five points at halftime.
“We played St. Pius tough and we played a super, super first half,” he said.
Tate-Edge has carried most of the scoring load for Riverwood this season, leading the team with 18.1 points a game. Wilson has also made a big contribution with 10 points per contest.
Staten, Harris, Farr and 5-2 freshman guard Ally Owens have also played key roles as well as McKinley, who has been in and out of the lineup due to tendonitis in her left achilles tendon.
“We have a good group of five or six girls that — if we stay together this year and the next couple of years — they’re going to be good,” Manning said.