The Rangeview Raiders (14-5, 7-1) held on to defeat a firey George Washington Patriots (15-5, 6-1) late in the fourth by a final score of 71-63. The Raiders and Patriots found themselves in a back and forth battle all night, but just as the Patriots closed the gap, the Raiders pushed their lead back up.
Both teams began the game dialed in on either side of the ball. George Washington set themselves in full-court man-to-man pressure forcing Rangeview to turn the ball over giving the Patriots an early 7-5 lead. The Raiders cemented their defense in a 2-3 zone which created problems for the Patriots’ offense to build off their lead.
Maya Whiteside, junior forward from George Washington, got the crowd going with a huge block with a little more than one minute to go in the first quarter. However, the Raiders collected the block and put it back up to take an 11-10 lead. Momentum swung in favor of Rangeview following the offensive rebound and put back, as sophomore guard Genesis Sweetwine drained the next five points to end the quarter.
George Washington fought their way back to tie the game at 19 early in the second quarter. The Patriots even found themselves with a slim 21-19 lead a minute later. Out of a Rangeview timeout, sophomore guard Ny’Era West drilled a three-pointer to once again give the Raiders the lead.
The basket by West sparked more offensive production for Rangeview. The Raiders found themselves with a six-point lead with a minute to go in the half. Doing it herself, West blocked senior Iyahnni Qualls and took it herself to extend the Raiders’ lead, 33-25, at the half.
Rangeview’s eight-point lead at halftime is the difference they would ultimately hold onto to win Thursday night’s game, but it was not without close moments of letting their lead slip away in the second half.
The Patriots leaned on their playmakers in the third to bring them back to within striking distance. Whiteside began the quarter by converting an and-one attempt. Jaida Redwine, George Washington freshman guard, excited the crowd with a huge chase-down block on junior guard Bri Linnear who briefly went down with a lower leg injury. In the paint, sophomore guard Anisa Turner was bound and determined to score tough baskets to keep George Washington alive.
The fourth quarter began with seven quick points by George Washington to cut their deficit to just one point, but back-to-back points by Rangeview gave them a 53-47 lead after two minutes of action. Energy began to fade on the Patriots side of the ball as Rangeview capitalized and kept their foot on the gas to take home a hard-fought victory.
Junior Maya Whiteside quietly had a nice output for the Patriots. She was disruptive defensively and was able to score confidently. Whiteside finished the night with a game-high 20-points in the loss. Sophomore Anisa Turner was scrappy in the paint all night. Turner fought for every rebound and second-chance opportunity, eventually finishing with 15-points. Two freshmen made a significant impact for the Patriots, Jaida Redwine and EmmaJo Locks combined for 22-points, eleven each, and were consistently a factor on defense.
Sophomore Genesis Sweetwine was on another level Thursday night scoring a team-high 19-points. She was truly a sparkplug for this offense and whenever they needed a momentum swing, Sweetwine was there to answer the call. Despite going down with a lower-leg injury, junior Bri Linnear fought through the pain and finished her night with 14-points. Sophomores Grace Solarin and Ny’Era West combined for 27-points, each scoring 14 and 13 respectively to round out the top scorers for the Raiders.