River View To Inaugurate Girls’ State Tourney In Opening Game

By: Gary Dove WN Sports Writer
BRADSHAW – When the 2021 West Virginia Girls’ High School Basketball State Tournament
opens Tuesday morning at 9:30 at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum, the River View Lady Raiders
will help inaugurate the five day
event by taking on Calhoun County in the initial game of the 28 game extravaganza.
The appearance will be the second in school history for the Lady Raiders, who made their
first at the end of the 2016-17 season, when River View’s two seniors on this year’s team were
eighth graders.
This time, the Lady Raiders will compete in Class A, after having appeared in the AA ranks
in 2017.
Boasting a 15-2 record this season, and holding down the sixth seed, River View will
square off against third seed Calhoun County. The Lady Red Devils are 13-4.
Heading into tomorrow’s game, head coach Gehrig Justice spoke of the performance of the
Lady Raiders in 2021, “We’re really pleased by the way the group has come together. Over the
course of the season, seven different girls have led us in scoring in a game. We haven’t had just
one person doing the scoring and the girls have been willing to share.”
He continued, “The team came together really well. That’s our biggest asset this season.”
Despite losing four starters from last year’s team, this edition reeled off seven consecutive
victories to open the campaign before suffering a loss at Tolsia. The only other blemish on
the 2021 slate was a loss to Tug Valley, the top-seed in the Class A state tournament field.
Looking at his starting lineup for tomorrow, Justice named senior co-captains Jenna
Atwell and Sheridan Calhoun in the frontcourt, along with sophomore Trista Lester at a wing.
Junior Ali Morgan, a transfer from Westside, is the other wing, along with fellow junior
Chloe Mitchem at point guard.
Lester averages 13.9 points per game, while Morgan scores at a 10.7 ppg clip. Atwell
carries a 9.0 point average and Calhoun averages 6.9 points. Mitchem rounds out the starting
lineup at 5.7 ppg.
Relief help will come from freshmen Hannah Honosky and Abigail Pruitt.
Defensively Lester averages almost nine steals a game. When Calhoun County has the ball, she plays at
the top of the Lady Raiders’ 1-3-1 zone and also plays at the top of their press.
Mitchem was praised for her ability to run the River View offense from the point, while Morgan
was cited as a player “who can change a game.”
Both Calhoun and Atwell were praised for their leadership qualities, as well as their play by
Additional bench strength comes from junior Marissa Stinson and freshman Brooke Fuller.
The season has not been without bumps, as Grundy transfers Katie Bailey and Hayley Payne
were declared ineligible to play near the Easter break after having been given the go-ahead in
preseason. The ruling came from the WVSSAC and forced Coach Justice to start anew in
molding his team.
The remaining nine players responded with tomorrow’s trip to Charleston as evidence.
Remarked Justice of the reshuffle, “Our seniors and freshmen have really stepped up.”
Looking at the Lady Red Devils, Coach Justice remarked their two scorers are juniors
Josie Montgomery (20.3 ppg) and Savannah Cunningham (16.2 ppg).
“They basically play a zone and like to get the ball out and run the fast break. We’ve
been very aware in practice of getting back to defend this.”
In River View’s regular season finale, a 63-62 victory over Tolsia at home, Coach
Justice picked up his 200th varsity career victory over his 15 years that includes the
final four seasons at Iaeger High School.