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GIRLS HOOPS: Hot start, stifling defense deliver Rio season sweep of Fall River as Vikings advance in regionals
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PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL DIV. 5 REGIONAL SEMIFINALS | RIO 48, FALL RIVER 24

GIRLS HOOPS: Hot start, stifling defense deliver Rio season sweep of Fall River as Vikings advance in regionals

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RIO — The popular notion is that it’s hard to beat a team three times in one season.

Don’t tell that to Rio’s Adeline Hutzler. The 5-foot-9 senior forward poured in a game-high 20 points on Friday as the Vikings made it 3-for-3 against Fall River this season with a dominating 48-24 victory in the Division 5 regional semifinals.

Hutzler and her teammates set the tone early in the game against the fourth-seeded Pirates by going on a 14-0 run, with the final six points coming on back-to-back 3-pointers by senior Kayla Staveness. By the time the run ended the top-seeded Vikings had a 14-2 lead and control of the contest.

Back-to-baskets by Fall River’s Ava Rozinski, who led the Pirates with nine points, cut the advantage to 14-6, but that would be the closest the Pirates (9-16) would get for the remainder of the contest. Hutzler scored six of her 10 first-half points from that point on as Rio stretched its lead to as many as 14 in the period and closed the half with a 24-12 advantage.

Hutzler would match her 10 with another 10 in the second half and she teamed up once again with Staveness, who finished the game with 13 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, to spark a mini 7-0 run after the Pirates had cut the lead to 10 at 26-16 with 15 minutes to play in the game.

From there, Hutzler & Co. steadily pulled away.

“She plays with tenacity and has something that you just can’t teach — it’s effort all the time,” said Rio coach Deb Hutzler about her daughter Adeline. “You have to have the 'want' and she has it.”

The Vikings also served up a tenacious zone defense as they limited the Pirates to only eight field goals in the contest.

“I thought we did a decent job keeping them out of the lanes,” Deb Hutzler said. “Our help defense was where they needed to be most of the time, and I was pretty pleased with our defensive effort tonight.”

For Fall River coach Jim Doolittle it was a disappointing end to a disappointing year.

“It’s been like this all year. We’re up, we’re down. In the last game, our shots were falling. But we can’t score 12 points in a half and expect to win," Doolittle said. “They played some good defense but we were getting the shots we wanted and we just weren’t hitting them.

"They are a good team and they did beat us three times this year. I wish them all the luck but I feel bad for my kids right now.”

With the win, the Vikings were also able to exact a small measure of revenge since Fall River had ousted them from the tournament the past two years at regionals.

Rio’s Emily Loging, a 6-1 sophomore, tallied nine points in the contest.

The Vikings (12-6) will now host No. 2 seed Oakfield, a 68-64 victor over Hustisford on Friday night, in tonight's regional championship game. The Vikings defeated the Oaks 62-54 earlier this season in the one and only match-up between the Trailways West/Trailways East crossover rivals. 

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