HANNIBAL - Shadyside head coach Ed Andes and River head coach Mark Romick knew they'd have some ups and downs during the course of the season.
Neither, however, probably thought they'd be in for a roller coaster ride that not even Cedar Point could match.
The ride continued for both Friday night inside the R.L. Potts Gymnasium.
SHADYSIDE'S Luke Nardo goes up for a shot over top of River's Cole Isaly during Friday night's action in Hannibal.
Thus far, for Shadyside, the highs have outweighed the lows and that continued with a 50-47 victory, despite Andes crediting the Pilots (1-4) for outplaying his team most of the night.
"River beat us in every facet of the game except the score," Andes said. "They out-hustled us, out-scrapped us, got loose balls, but we made just one more shot."
The shot was released with less than 2 seconds showing on the clock after the Pilots had gotten a defensive stop and had the ball, but were guilty of a turnover in the backcourt.
Inbounding from in front of the Tigers' bench, Logan Cline got a good look from behind the line and kissed it in as the horn sounded, setting off a huge celebration from the Tigers (3-2).
"That was a prayer," Andes said of the last-second shot. "I told the kids coming down here that River was going to play hard and go after it and they did. We got off to a bad start again and, for most of the fourth quarter, we didn't play well."
The Tigers, who didn't score their first points of the game until there was less than two minutes to go in the first, appeared to be on their way to taking control of the game.
An 11-2 run in the opening few minutes of the fourth, which was capped by a triple from junior Zach Frizzi, stretched Shadyside's lead to seven at 45-38. That was its largest of the contest.
The Pilots turned up the defense with a half-court trap that led to Tigers' turnovers on five consecutive possessions.
"We played hard, kept our head and battled our butts back to tie the game, but in a nine-second span, we did everything wrong," said River head coach Mark Romick. "That's essentially what it was, too."
As the turnovers mounted, the Pilots got on a run. Trailing, 47-40, River scored seven in a row to tie the game with 1:33 to play after senior Eric Dierkes, who turned in a strong game with a game-high 23 markers, meshed two at the line.
Shadyside was able to handle the Pilots' defense on the next possession, but misfired on a shot. River rebounded and turned it over. Shadyside, again, missed a shot and that set up the final moments.
"They had three opportunities in the last nine seconds to win it," Romick continued. "If you give somebody that many opportunities, the law of averages are going to get you in that situation. We played and battled hard, but we make the youthful mistakes and turnovers without pressure. You can't win ball games doing those things."
Shadyside, which was guilty of 22 turnovers, didn't lead until the third quarter. It stared up at a 10-7 deficit after one and 24-21 count at the break.
River's defense, which mixed man and zone, didn't allow Shadyside many good looks from behind the arc. That came just 48 hours after the Tigers knocked home 10 triples in a loss to Wheeling Central.
"We defended well and defense has been our strong suit right now," Romick said. "We're living on that right now. We need to keep games low scoring because we're not a potent offense and we turn the ball over."
The Tigers were led in the scoring column by Frizzi. He finished with 15 points. Travis Fulton added 11 points and completed the double-double with 13 rebounds. Luke Nardo added nine.
"There were a lot of young kids on the floor on both teams and you expect some highs and lows and somehow, we pulled it out," Andes said. "River should have won this game."
The Pilots were led by Dierkes' production. Jarrett Armann had eight points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Jarred Ramsier added eight points as well.
The Tigers were charted for 22 turnovers, which was two more than the Pilots.
Neither team is into its Christmas break yet. The Pilots were scheduled for a 9 o'clock tip this morning at Marietta College against Federal Hocking. Shadyside, meanwhile, treks to Martins Ferry on Monday.
River managed a split with a victory in the reserve game.
SHADYSIDE (50) - Nardo 4, 1-2 9; Johnson 2, 3-3 7; Cline 2, 0-0 5; Frizzi 4, 5-7 15; Fulton 4, 2-3 11; Schuetz 1, 0-0 3; Totals: 17, 11-15 50. RIVER (47) - Indermuhle 2, 0-0 4; Smith 0, 0-0 0; Caretti 1, 0-0 3; Dierkes 7, 7-11 23; Amos 0, 0-0 0; Armann 3, 2-5 8; Flannery 0, 1-2 1; Ramsier 3, 1-3 8; Totals: 16, 11-21 47.
3-point goals: S - Cline, Frizzi (2), Schuetz. R - Dierkes (2), Ramsier, Caretti.