Sunday, March 14, 2004
By Crystal Parker
Riverside's quest to add another basketball trophy to their school’s display area ended at the Group 1 state championship game. The Rams, with their impressive victory against Middlesex in the semi-finals, were looking for the opportunity to take home the state title against the Bloomfield Tech Spartans. Today’s challenge was no different than all of the other ones they faced though out the season, but Bloomfield’s strength and size proved to be too much for the Lady Rams to overcome their early first half deficit. Riverside would never lead in this state finals game being played at the Ritacco Center at Toms River North High. Despite Sabra Wrice scoring her 2,000th point in her high school career, the Lady Rams’ exciting season ended with their 71-59 defeat to Bloomfield Tech.
Sabra Wrice has led the Rams for most of the season and of course she was not alone when the team captured the South Jersey Group 1 title against Burlington City by a score of 69-50. Riverside’s team effort outscored their opponents by 23 points per game to finally capture our area’s group title. For the past 3 years, the Rams have lost in the semi-finals and with that victory, it finally ended Riverside’s title quest. The girl’s kept that winning feeling by defeating Middlesex, 83-53, in the Group 1 state semi-finals game to advance to the finals for the first time in school history.
The Spartans’ Khaliqa Davis had complete confidence and control of the offense for Bloomfield Tech during the first two quarters. Able to find the open player inside, Davis engineered an early lead that set the tone for the rest of the game. Knowing what to expect, Wrice began to take matters in her own hands looking to keep the Rams in the game. Riverside only trailed by a 13-10 margin after one quarter, but that deficit expanded to 33-24 at intermission.
During the second half, the Rams had better success at putting points on the scoreboard, but so did the Spartans. The Rams’ faithful did have something to cheer about when Wrice scored her 2000th point. Riverside has a lot to be proud about with their 17 game winning streak during the regular season, South Jersey Group 1 title and a trip to the state finals. Sabra Wrice finished with a game-high 36 points and Baendu Lowenthal added 12 points for Riverside. Khaliga Davis finished with a team high 20 points, Thazina Cook added 16 and Victoria Sykes ended with 15 points for Bloomfield Tech.
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