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.