Jessica Hartsock’s 38 paces River View past Marietta

MIKE MORRISON, The Marietta Times Marietta junior Hannah Kroft (44) tries to establish position inside while being guarded by River View’s Emma Anderson (44) Saturday afternoon at Sutton Gym. Kroft scored 22 points but the Tigers fell to the Bears 65-58.

MARIETTA — Marietta was able to overcome a 19-point, second half deficit Saturday afternoon at Sutton Gymnasium against the visiting River View Black Bears.

Unfortunately for the Tigers they were unable to turn their comeback into a victory as they came up on the short end of a heart-breaking 65-58 loss.

River View junior Jessica Hartsock tossed in a game-high 38 points including the final five of the game as the Bears spoiled what would have been a comeback for the ages for the young and improving Tigers.

“Our girls came out in the second half and they just wanted it so bad,” said second-year Tiger head coach Allen Ruth. “At halftime you could tell by the look on our faces that we were not out of this game. I couldn’t be more pleased with our effort.”

The Tigers got off to a fast start as they scored the first five points of the game and led by as many as seven with two minutes to play in the quarter.

Tiger senior Tia Jarvis knocked down a pair of triples in the opening quarter but River View rallied to score the final five points of the first period to trim the lead to 15-13.

The Bears continued their run early in the second quarter as they scored the first 10 points to turn the seven-point deficit into an eight-point lead at 23-15.

“We came out on fire but give River View credit they smacked us back and answered the bell,” said Ruth.

The Tigers managed to whittle the lead back down to four on a field goal by Emma Pfeiffer and a pair of free throws by Josie Jeffers before the River View offense exploded over the final two minutes of the half to open up a 16-point lead at the break.

River View scored 14 of the final 16 points of the half paced by12 from Hartsock including a buzzer-beater from just inside the half-court line.

Hartsock tallied 25 points in the opening half including 19 in the second quarter forcing the Tigers to change their defensive strategy against her in the second half.

Marietta went to a box-in-one using several different girls to shadow Hartsock’s every move and it worked to perfection for much of the second half.

The Tiger defense limited her to just four points in the third quarter as they began to chip away at the lead largely due to a strong quarter from junior Hannah Kroft.

Kroft scored nine of her team-high 22 points in the third period as the orange and black cut the lead that had reached 19 all the way down to seven heading into the final eight minutes.

Early fourth quarter field goals by Tiger sophomores Adi Hill and Morgan Altenburger trimmed the lead to five before a beautiful in-bound pass play between Hill and Kroft netted Kroft yet another bucket to cut the lead to 52-49.

Hill cut the lead to one on a steal and bucket in transition and after a River View field goal by Kelsey Hartsoock, Pfeiffer connected from long range to tie the game at 54-54 with just under three minutes to play.

Marietta grabbed it’s first lead of the second half when Jennifer Smith caught a length-of-the court- football pass from Kroft and made a pair of free throws after drawing a foul.

Jessica Hartsock and Katie Korodi exchanged a pair of free throws to keep the score tied before River View regained the lead with 43 seconds to play when Cydney Whiteus scored on an assist from Lexi Fry.

The Tigers got the ball past mid-court and called a time out to set up what they hoped would be a game-winning play but Korodi’s attempt at a go-ahead 3-pointer rattled in-and -out to put the ball back in the hands of the Bears with less than 20 seconds on the clock.

Jessica Hartsock was fouled and made the first and after missing the second she grabbed her own rebound and crushed the Tiger hopes by scoring once again while drawing a foul for a three-point play.

River View head coach Marty Bice had high praise for Hartsock who also grabbed five rebounds and five steals as well as the effort of his entire squad.

“They really tightened up their defense on the Hartsock girl in the second half and other kids had to step up and start making plays and they did,” said Bice. “Jessica is a great part of our offense and teams know that she is our go-to. I thought Marietta did a great job on her in the second half but she was still able to make some plays down the stretch.”

Whiteus added 13 points for the Bears while Kelsey Hartsock added 11 as the two Hartsock girls accounted for 49 of River View’s 65 points.

Kroft continued her great season as she completed yet another double-double with 22 points and 10 boards while Jarvis and Hill finished with nine and eight points respectively.

River View improved to 9-1 with the win while the Tiger ladies fell to 4-7 despite the strong effort.

“For a bunch of young kids who are trying to find their way and learn how to win I think we took a big step today,” said Ruth. ‘It was a great team effort and the kids were into it and that was really good to see.”

The Tigers get a day off before traveling to Ripley Monday night.