Riverton • For some teams, making only four of its final eight free throws is a death knell — even with a lead.
Of course, if a team goes 4-for-8 from the line, but also holds its opponent to one field goal in the entire fourth quarter and can pass its way out of a press, that’s how the Riverton girls’ basketball team wins games.
The Silverwolves defended their home court, knocking out Lone Peak in a 40-31 defensive-flavored matchup. With the win, Riverton took down arguably its toughest region foe and now has the easiest path to earn the Region 4 championship.
“It feels great — it’s definitely an accomplishment,” senior guard Morganne Campbell said. “We have to keep fighting, and remember it’s not over yet.”
The Silverwolves had their best stretch at the end of the game, keeping the Knights from scoring a field goal for the final five minutes. Part of the credit goes to Lone Peak’s own shaky shooting, but Riverton managed to grab some steals and outrebound taller post players.
As the lead stretched to 36-30, the Knights began to run a full-court press. But the Silverwolves cooly were able to pass around the pressure and hold onto the ball.
The lockdown defense in the second half came into place gradually. Early in the game, Lone Peak center Karlie Taylor tore the post apart for 10 first-half points. The 6-foot-3 senior also swatted several interior attempts away — the Silverwolves didn’t have much answer for her presence.
“We talked about it at halftime, and we wanted to help each other out as much as possible on defense,” Campbell said. “We know at any given night any one of us can step up. So if the posts aren’t doing as well, the guards can play better.”
Riverton successfully managed to smother a backcourt that burned them in the last game. Besides Taylor, who finished with with 14 points, no one else finished with more than five.
Team offense was the theme for the Silverwolves: Leading scorer Whitney Saunders had only 8 points, but six players scored four points or more.
“We don’t have any big hitters or stars or whatever, but what a joy it’s been to coach a group of girls who truly buy into the ‘team’ concept,” coach Ron Ence said. “Especially this last month, they’ve worked really hard on their weaknesses, and it’s shown.”
• Riverton beats Lone Peak, giving it a 7-0 region record and a fast track to the Region 4 championship.
• The Silverwolves stuff the Knights in the fourth quarter, allowing only four points and one field goal.