Frigid shooting, turnovers deny Mac-Hi in girls basketball loss to Riverside

Cold shooting is the culprit again Monday night as the Pioneers suffered their sixth straight defeat after a 4-1 start to the season.

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MILTON-FREEWATER — Riverside built an eight-point lead early in the fourth quarter, then withstood a Mac-Hi rally late in the period for a 34-31 triumph in a non-league girls basketball game Monday night in the Pioneers’ gym.

The loss was Mac-Hi’s sixth in succession and dropped the Pioneers to 4-7 on the season.

Six-foot post Sierra Burchell, who led all scorers in the game with 18 points, got Mac-Hi off to a good start with a basket in the low block just 10 seconds after the opening tip.

But the Pirates would score eight of the final 10 points of quarter one and take an 8-4 lead into the second period. Janiva Lomas, Fabiola Lopez, Kayla Nelson and Whitley Reece all had baskets in the frame for Riverside.

After falling behind 10-4 early in the second quarter, the Pioneers ripped off 12 unanswered points. Following a Kasey Erm free throw, Belen Betancourt knocked down a 3-point shot from the left corner at the 6:40 mark to make it a two-point game, 10-8.

Betancourt tossed in a runner with 2:40 remaining to complete the run and give Mac-Hi a six-point spread, 16-10.

The Pioneers led 16-14 at halftime despite shooting just 20 percent from the floor (5-of-25) and committing 15 turnovers.

Mac-Hi’s ice-cold shooting continued in the third quarter. The Pioneers made just two shots, both by Burchell, on 14 attempts and entered the final period down by two, 24-22.

Riverside collected the first six points of the fourth quarter and appeared to be well on its way to a victory.

The Pioneers scored the next six points to claw back within two, 30-28. Burchell converted a low-post opportunity with 1:10 left to bring it back to a two-point contest.

But Riverside put the game away by sinking four-of-five free throws in the final 38 seconds.

Mac-Hi ended the night with 30 turnovers.

"That press shouldn’t have affected us that much," Mac-Hi coach Curtis Pumphrey said of Riverside’s box-and-1 that focused attention on Pioneer guard Andrea Roeder — who was limited to four points. "We had a lot of unforced turnovers."

Mac-Hi outrebounded the Pirates, 55-34. Erm led both teams with 14.

"We started well, but we’re in a funk right now," Pumphrey said. "It (the six-game slide) has been these types of games. It’s a matter of just going out there and getting it done."

Mac-Hi’s next game is tonight at Stanfield.

RIVERSIDE (34) — Lomas 2-4 0-0 4, Lopez 2-5 0-0 4, Callow 1-6 0-2 2, Nelson 4-7 0-0 8, Velazquez 1-4 2-5 4, Bradley 0-4 0-0 0, Reece 3-7 0-0 6, Hernandez 2-5 0-0 4, Connell 0-5 2-2 2. Totals 15-47 4-9 34.

MAC-HI (31) — Roeder 1-15 1-2 4, Erm 0-5 1-2 1, Burchell 6-19 6-13 18, Humbert 0-0 0-0 0, Betancourt 2-12 0-0 5, Hernandez 0-0 0-0 0, Munk 1-1 1-2 3. Totals 10-52 9-19 31.

Riverside 8 6 10 10 — 34

Mac-Hi 4 12 6 9 — 31

3-point goals — Riverside none, Mac-Hi 2-8 (Roeder 1-3, Betancourt 1-5). Total fouls—Riverside 17, Mac-Hi 14. Fouled out—Riverside (Nelson). Technical fouls—none. Rebounds—Riverside 34 (Connell 10), Mac-Hi 55 (Erm 14). Turnovers—Riverside 22, Mac-Hi 30.

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