The Riverside boys basketball team took its lumps over the past weekend by losing a pair of close games, first dropping a 43-41 decision to host Hardin Northern Jan. 29 in a Northwest Central Conference contest, then returning home and losing a non-league game to Greenon, 56-51, the following night.
The Pirates (6-10 on the season, 3-3 in the NWCC) looked to turn the game against the Polar Bears (6-11 overall, 1-5 in the NWCC) into a laugher, jumping out to a 19-9 lead after the first quarter. But Hardin Northern refused to go away. Finding themselves down by six headed into the fourth quarter, the Bears put a halt to the Pirate attack, limiting the visitors to just four fourth quarter points while scoring 12 of their own to gain the two-point win.
Riverside shot just 33 percent from the floor and was limited to just eight offensive rebounds in the game.
Landon Kelsey was the only Pirate to reach double figures in scoring against the Polar Bears, finishing with 10 points. Shawn Crawford was a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor and closed with eight points, as did teammate Jesse Kean, who also led the team with seven rebounds. Trey Helmlinger had five steals and three of the Pirates’ six assists in the game.
In the five-point loss to Greenon on Jan. 30, Riverside did everything right except stop the Knights (4-12 overall) from shooting the lights out. The Pirates connected on 45 percent of their shots from the floor, drained seven three-pointers, turned the ball over only four times, and dished out 12 assists – all of which was negated by the Knights red-hot shooting and ability to hold on to the ball as Greenon shut down Riverside’s transition game by allowing the hosts just four steals in the game.
After Greenon grabbed 24-22 lead at the half, Riverside’s Kelsey opened the third period by hitting three bombs from downtown, only to be matched basket-for-basket by an unfazed and collected Knight team as both teams scored 16 points in the third. Greenon put the game away in the fourth as the Knights made good use of the foul line in the final period, going 8-for-15 in the fourth, including hitting their last four attempts from the stripe. Riverside attempted only two free-throws in the second half, finishing just 2-for-6 for the night.
Shawn Crawford did a yeoman’s job for the Pirates around the basket, going 5-for-8 from the floor, finishing with 12 points and 13 rebounds, six of which came on the offensive end. Kelsey led the Pirates with 15 points and Stevens scored all 12 of his points on three-pointers.
Riverside has but one league game left this season when it travels McGuffey to play Upper Scioto Valley Feb. 5.