Balanced River cruises past Frontier, 77-32
HANNIBAL — River has continually played ‘up’ this season in terms of opponents being above its Division IV level. It paid dividends Friday night.
Six Pilots reached double figures and the hosts used a 31-7 scoring advantage in the second quarter in posting a wire-to-wire, 77-32, victory over visiting Frontier inside the R.L. Potts Gymnasium.
“The schedule we’ve been playing the last two or three weeks showed tonight,” veteran River head coach Mark Romick said of two contests each against Harrison Central and St. Clairsville and one each with Steubenville and Fort Frye. “It’s taught us some things. We play at a little bit different speed now. Our intensity and enthusiasm levels are up and we’re ready to shoot the ball when it hits our hands.
“That’s important because when you are playing better teams, the window closes on you quickly,” he added.
After tickling the twine of just 2 of 9 three-point attempts in the opening quarter, in which the hosts held a 10-4 advantage, they knocked down a sizzling 12 of 18 the rest of the way, including a 5-for-8 showing in the second-quarter outburst.
“We’ve been like that,” Romick said of the streaky outside shooting. “But we’ve got five or six guys that can shoot it from out there.”
They had seven players dial long distance last night.
During the fateful second quarter, the Cougars (3-17) turned the ball over nine times, many leading to easy runouts.
Ty Long and reserve Kam Potts led the half-a-dozen Pilots (13-8) in twin digits with 13 points each. Brody Lollathin chipped in 12 and Connor Hunter had 11. Austin Creamer and Kabel Isaly evenly divided 20, with Isaly coming off the bench to get his.
“That is kind of unheard of in high school basketball,” Romick acknowledged. “I was pleased with how we moved the ball.”
Hunter and Potts each had three triples. Creamer, Lollathin and Isaly two apiece.
The defensive effort didn’t surprise him, though.
“We play hard on defense every night,” he noted.
River held a commanding, 39-18, margin off the glass. Potts led with nine while Chase Lawrence grabbed six. Lollathin, Long and Isaly all had five.
Brenden Hoff had 11 points and Caleb Reynolds seven rebounds for Frontier.
River, the No. 7 seed in the upcoming Division IV sectional tournament, hosts No. 8 and Ohio 7 rival Shadyside Tuesday at 7 p.m. as tournament action unfolds.