The championship of the 20-team Best of Maryland girls' basketball tournament last night at Damascus High featured a clash of styles and a clash of titans. Riverdale Baptist, which used a fast-paced transition offense to close the 2004-05 season with a No. 1 ranking in The Post's Top 20, met the deliberate style of Pittsburgh Oakland, a team comprised of players from a few high schools in the Pittsburgh area.
Chalk one up for slow and steady, as Pittsburgh Oakland kept the Crusaders out of rhythm and forced 20 turnovers en route to a 57-47 win.
"They outworked us," Riverdale Coach Diane Richardson said. "They wanted the rebounds more than we did. They were patient on offense. We got into foul trouble early, and couldn't really pressure them as we would have liked. We'll take this as a barometer of what we need to work on."
The three-day tournament included nine teams from the D.C. area and was played before recruiters from 120 colleges.
Pittsburgh Oakland jumped to a 10-3 lead in the opening minutes of the first half as Riverdale Baptist committed seven turnovers on its first nine possessions and did not score until more than four minutes had elapsed in the first half. Riverdale (30-1 in 2004-05) rallied behind RaShaunda Hobbs, who scored eight straight points to bring the Crusaders within 27-25 at halftime.
Pittsburgh Oakland broke open the game in the second half behind rising senior guard Ashya Jones (game-high 28 points).
"We realized that they didn't want to play defense on the perimeter," Jones said. "I wanted to take advantage of it and get to the foul line, where I am most comfortable."
-- Judith Evans