MORRISTOWN - The outcome is the most important objective in tournament basketball, but not even that was enough to stop River coach Rick Isaly from shaking his head.
"What can you say?" Isaly asked. "I think this had to be our worst performance of the season."
Even with that being the case, the Pilots still found a way to get it done.
Scoring nearly as many points as it had in the first three periods, River (17-6) used a strong fourth quarter to fend off a scrappy Frontier (14-9) squad in Monday's nightcap at Union Local High School, 39-30, to advance in the Division IV sectional tournament.
River will tangle with 21-2 Bridgeport - a 68-38 victor against Beallsville - in the lower bracket sectional final at 8 p.m. The teams split their regular-season matchups with each winning on the other's home floor.
"I am just glad to get out of here with a win and move on," Isaly said. "Having said that, we didn't do any of the things we worked on or that we asked the girls to do."
Regardless what area of the game you examine, the Pilots just didn't play well. They struggled from the field, shot 10 of 26 from the foul line and had 20 turnovers.
"We didn't have one girl get into any sort of flow on offense," Isaly said. "I don't know. We had probably our best week of practice and I really thought we'd play a good game, but it sure didn't happen that way. We know that this time of the year that if you don't play well, you normally go home."
Isaly is correct that all of the Pilots' aforementioned ingredients are usually a recipe for disaster.
However, Frontier struggled just as badly in all aspects except the foul line, but it didn't make nearly as many trips. The Cougars had 20 turnovers, missed upwards of 40 shots from the field, including several point-blank chances on the interior.