By Joe Ostrica
The night of Feb. 4 was definitely a memorable one for North Ridgeville senior Alyssa Riley. Despite losing a 69-51 West Shore Conference contest to Rocky River on the Senior Night game, Riley finished with 29 points, including four 3 pointers to surpass 1,000 career scoring points.
“After our first game with Rocky River, in which Alyssa was held to six points, I wasn’t sure she would put up close to 24 points on Wednesday, which is what she needed to reach 1,000 points,” North Ridgeville head coach Amy Esser said. “She started the first quarter scoring 15 points, including three back-to-back-to- back 3-pointers. She added 5 more in the second quarter to have 20 points at half. “We had a special surprise for her planned when she got to 1,000, so not knowing that she was going to go off like that, our younger kids raced to get all the Fatheads pictured of her and pass them out to the crowd. Alyssa, her parents, and many of her family members didn’t realize she was that close to 1,000 and it was a very special night.”
In addition to the 1,000-point plateau, Riley also set the school record for most 3-pointers in a season in the Rocky River game, passing up Ashley Montgomery’s previous record of 56. Riley currently has 58 for the season.
Riley also broke Montgomery’s career record of 110 3-pointers early in the season. Riley currently has 162 3-pointers with two regular season games left to play as well as the playoffs.
“This is a great accomplishment for Alyssa,” Esser said. “I know this among others has been a goal for her since her freshmen year. Alyssa has worked very hard to perfect her craft and raise the level of her game. She is dedicated and motivated to be a better player and shooter every time she steps on the court. I think no one deserves it more than her – and more importantly – Alyssa really earned it.”
According to Esser, Riley is only the second player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. Montgomery still holds the all-time record with 1,166 career points.
“When you look back at every year in someone’s career, you realize the amount of talent it takes to have a milestone like that,” Esser said. “Alyssa didn’t play on varsity right away her freshman year and only had a little over 80 points in the season. Her sophomore year she started coming out of her shell, but it wasn’t until her junior year that she really started to hit her stride.
“In the last two years she’s totaled more than 600 points, averaging more than 15 points per game.”
While Esser said Riley’s nearly 18 points per game will be missed next year, it’s her leadership that will be missed even more.
“As an athlete, she has dedicated herself to be the best she can be, and she’s done that,” Esser said. “No one can take that away from her. She will be in the record books for a long time – I imagine – but more importantly she has left an imprint on our program. Our younger kids see her dedication, leadership and commitment to the game, school and family and she has really set a standard to live up to. She is such a great role model to so many younger athletes.
“She’s irreplaceable as a person and leader,” Esser said. “She has done a very good job of teaching our younger athletes and showing them how to be a good leader and the level of commitment it takes. She exemplifies what a really student-athlete should be. Her presence, both on and off the court, will be missed. On the court she is our leader and they girls look to her to lead the team. That’s one aspect that will be hard to replace. She was always the most vocal.”
Riley plans to continue her basketball career at Washington and Jefferson in Pennsylvania. She will be studying physical therapy.
3-pointers in a season: 58
3-pointers in career: 162
17.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.0 steals per game
Career-high 31 points versus Vermilion