Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Toughness, Competitiveness Fuel River Dell's Strong Start

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Toughness, Competitiveness Fuel River Dell's Strong Start

Article excerpt

Lindsay Steffner has a team filled with multi-sport athletes. Few, if any, of the River Dell girls basketball coach's players play basketball exclusively.

And that's fine for Steffner because the Golden Hawks know how to compete from the first minute of each game until the last.

"I like the fact that they're just going out there and competing," Steffner said. "They're playing hard, they're anticipating passes, playing gutsy on defense. They're just being aggressive."

That showed during River Dell's run in the Joe Poli Tournament at Pascack Valley last week.

The Hawks defeated Holy Angels, 46-29, in the first round, played Pascack Valley extremely tough in a 55-37 loss, and then earned a signature victory against Immaculate Heart Academy, 29-27.

That win, which required plenty of late-game mental toughness and effort, gave River Dell a jolt of confidence and momentum as it heads back into its division schedule.

"We're playing good team basketball," Steffner said. "We want to try to win a league championship. We want to compete. We want to try and do something in the state tournament. We want to compete at the county level. Winning against a powerhouse parochial program for us really sets our program to a different standard."

The Hawks have thrived so far this season on a balanced offense that can hit shots from the outside or make tough baskets in the paint.

Different players are capable of stepping up each game.

Senior forward Caton Henderson led River Dell with 12 points against Holy Angels. She then matched sophomore guard Bridget Cahill with 12 points against Pascack Valley.

Cahill was stellar from the perimeter, and scored all of her points on three-pointers. Then Henderson scored eight against IHA, and senior forward Madeline Weber scored six in the defensive battle.

The Hawks have been solid defensively all season. They were outstanding against Pascack Valley, which is a prolific offensive team.

So now River Dell has momentum with some key early-season victories. …

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