It’s been a record-setting year for Belleview girls’ hoops
By Olivia Granaiola
Twitter – @oliviagranaiola
The Belleview Rattlers girls’ basketball team is preparing for the playoffs. The Class 6A-District 6 semifinals will determine their playoff fate this week.
But no matter what happens, the girls’ 2017-18 season was one for the books.
The Lady Rattlers’ overcame adversity, broke two school records, and are now looking at a chance to make it back to the FHSAA state playoffs, including a chance to repeat as district champions.
The team finished 17-7 overall and 2-2 in the district, with an unfortunate 2-game losing streak to cap off the year. But, despite that, 5th-year coach Gary Greer finished the season without double digit losses for the first time during his coaching tenure. He was also able to lead his team to 11 consecutive wins on the season, a school record, and they broke the previous school record of 16 wins set last season.
Greer’s team was able to persevere with four different leading players in five categories.
Senior Lexie Osborne leads the team in scoring, junior Moochie Towns is the team’s leading rebounder (Towns posted a career-high 17 rebounds on January 4th in a win over Citrus), and junior Tay Riche is the top assister and notched the most steals throughout the season.
Senior Kelsey Clifford, a four-year starter, is recognized as the Lady Rattlers’ student leader. Just a month before the end of the season, Tay Riche’s twin sister Quay Riche, a defensive specialist, saw herself sidelined for the rest of the season with an ACL injury.
In spite of this adversity, Riche’s sister and teammates showed North Central Florida the strong bonds at Belleview High.
Without Quay, the defense did take a slight dip. The team allowed an average of 40.5 points per game without her, compared to 39 with her on the court. But, the ladies of Belleview basketball posted a record of 6-2 without her, showing the strength of the team.
The 3rd-seeded Lady Rattlers have their first playoff game at Dunnellon on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. They will face 2nd-seeded North Marion in the district semifinals with a state playoff spot on the line. North Marion beat Belleview in a low scoring 30-28 loss for the Rattlers in the fifth game of the season.
Since then, North Marion has not fared well with an overall record of 7-13.
The winner could face top-seeded Eastside (Gainesville) in the district championship game on Friday night. Last year, Belleview rallied from a 16-point deficit to defeat Eastside by one to win their first district title in school history.
The Lady Rattlers will have to get past North Marion if they want a chance to repeat.