Richfield and Apple Valley closed out the 2010 portion of their respective girls basketball schedules with the title game of the Holiday Classic tournament at Richfield High School on Tuesday night, with the Spartans defeating the Eagles 72-55.
"I thought Richfield played very well and played well together as a team," Apple Valley head coach Jeremy Gordon said. "Overall, I thought it was a good tournament with good competition."
Despite losing by 18 points, Apple Valley hung close with the host Spartans as Richfield led by just two points at 48-46 with just over 12 minutes to play.
"Apple Valley came out with a great effort and played well," Richfield head coach LeeAnn Wise said. "We had to switch things up on defense to contend with their shooters."
The change proved to be fruitful for the Spartans, who built a double-digit lead in just over a minute with a 10-0 run and allowed Apple Valley just 12 points over the final 10 minutes leading up to the final horn.
"We had some great passes tonight and our defense really kept us in there," Wise said.
The state's leading scorer, Richfield guard Jessica January, again led the way on the scoreboard with 34 points on the night. However, once again the Spartans had multiple players in double-digits as center Katie Anderson and guard Hannah Wise recorded 12 and 11 points, respectively.
"You know that January is going to get her points," said Gordon of the sophomore, who is averaging 28.8 points-per-game. "But they have several players that are able to get their points as well. Richfield is a well-coached team and we just got outplayed tonight."
Pacing the Eagles on the scoreboard was guard Jaryn Perkins with 11 points, with several of her teammates scoring in the high single-digits.
"Apple Valley was good competition for us," Lee Ann Wise said. "This tournament in general had very competitive teams in it. It was a lot of fun."
Richfield improved to 6-0 with the win, while Apple Valley dropped to 2-6 in the loss.
Both the Spartans and Eagles begin 2011 with conference matchups next Tuesday as Richfield travels to Simley, while Apple Valley hosts Prior Lake.