The Cardinal Ritter Girls Basketball Team had a short trip to Speedway on Friday to take on the Indiana Crossroads Conference and west side rival Spark Plugs. The raucous Raider crowd was on hand as many students made the short drive to watch and support their Lady Raiders. The theme for the Raider Nation was uniform, so our students were easily identifiable as they came dressed in what they wore to school earlier. The teams treated the fans to an exciting game that came down to the last seconds and saw a favorable end as the Lady Raiders beat the Plugs 53-49.
Before the Varsity game, the JV Team played and absolutely dominated the opposition. The squad started slowly and held just a narrow 5 point halftime lead. But a renewed effort in the second half saw our team pull away to win 35-19. Megan McCall “Me Maybe” led all scores with 12 while Emma Hunt chipped in 5
The Varsity game was a nail biter in the second half, but the first half was all Raiders as they came out and went up 7-0 to start. However, Speedway installed a 2-3 zone that closed the paint which forced the Lady Raiders to shoot from outside. The shots weren’t dropping at first which helped Speedway come close to evening the score as it was 13-10 after the first quarter. The Lady Raiders jumped ahead and found their stroke in the second behind the shooting Linsey “Scoops” and Kelsey “Wild Card” Waggoner. Cardinal Ritter took a somewhat commanding 26-15 lead to go into the half.
The second half saw Speedway come out with intensity as they packed the paint in more and disrupted the passing lanes on the top of the key all while getting hot from the three point line. “Wild Card” continued her hot hand as she hit 4 straight shots to help the Lady Raiders weather the storm of threes that were raining down. Speedway had brought it to a 5 point game as the score at the end of the 3rd quarter was 40-35 with CRHS on top.
The Plugs continued to press harder and ended up getting the lead until senior leaders, Gabby “Heat Check” Hicks and Meghan “Sure Shot” Sandifer took over. Sandifer started driving hard in the paint and muscled her way to the rim, as she could not be stopped by the Speedway defense. Hicks did the same, but also hit some mid range shots to displace the defense.
The last minute saw some big shots from both teams. The Speedway defense forced the Lady Raiders to cough up the ball and had everything going for them when Sandifer drove the lane with defenders draped all over her for the “Old-Fashioned” three point play to put the Raiders up. The Spark Plug hit a shot to bring the score to 50-49 with Cardinal Ritter ahead. After a costly turnover by the Lady Raiders, Speedway had a chance to go up until Sandifer stole the ball and dished it to a streaking Emma “Lights Out” Litzelman who took it coast to coast to hit a lay-up as she was pushed down to the ground with time running out. She hit the following free throw which put the Lady Raiders on top for good with seconds left.
Leading the scoring for the Raiders was Hicks finishing the game with 13, followed by Kelsey Waggoner with 12, Sandifer with 10 and “Scoops” and Litzelman with 7 a piece. Chloe “Ole… Ole, Ole” Olejnik and Elena “The Closer” Closser each finished with a bucket and were instrumental in bringing a toughness to the defensive side of the ball were the major distributors of the ball with the former getting 5 assists and the latter racking 7. Litzelman was tremendous on the glass ripping down 9 boards followed by Sandifer and Hicks with 7 a piece and “Wild Card” with 6.
The Lady Raiders are back in action Wednesday (previously scheduled for Saturday) at home as they take on Danville. JV is scheduled for 6 with Varsity to follow.