River Valley fends off Defenders, 55-43


By Bryan Walters - bwalters@civitasmedia.com



OVCS senior Elijah McDonald (32) releases a shot attempt over River Valley defender Jarret McCarley near the end of the first quarter Saturday night during a non-conference boys basketball contest in Gallipolis, Ohio.


Bryan Walters/OVP Sports

River Valley sophomore Layne Fitch (2) dribbles past OVCS defender Hollis Morrison (24) during the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s non-conference boys basketball contest in Gallipolis, Ohio.


Bryan Walters/OVP Sports

GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — Visiting River Valley had nine players reach the scoring column while picking up its third consecutive victory Saturday night during a hard-fought 55-43 decision over the Ohio Valley Christian boys basketball team in a non-conference matchup of Gallia County programs in the Old French City.

The Raiders (4-8) traded a pair of leads with the host Defenders (7-5) in the opening eight minutes of play, but a 17-5 surge over the opening 5:10 of the second canto allowed RVHS to turn a narrow 9-7 edge into its largest lead of the night at 26-12.

OVCS, however, countered with a 10-0 run over the final 2:25 of the half, allowing the Blue and White to close to within 26-22 at the break.

Elijah McDonald’s trifecta at the 7:29 mark of the third period allowed the hosts to close to within a possession at 28-25, but the Silver and Black responded with a quick 7-0 spurt that led to a 35-25 cushion with 5:34 left.

The Defenders twice closed to within six points the rest of the way, the last of which came at 47-41 with 6:37 left in regulation. The Raiders ultimately closed the game with an 8-2 run to wrap up the 12-point triumph.

River Valley — which held a big advantage in both height and roster depth — used those strengths throughout the course of the night. The guests forced 20 turnovers and claimed a 46-27 overall edge in rebounds, including a 14-3 advantage on the offensive glass.

The Defenders, however, hit 9-of-23 three-point attempts in the setback, which marked the seventh time in the Raiders’ last nine outings that they had surrendered at least eight trifectas in a game.

RVHS coach Bryan Drummond expressed a ton of respect for the hosts following the game, but he also thought that this win showed a great deal of character about his troops as they move forward with a practically healthy roster.

“Give OVC a lot of credit. They are scrappy and they can shoot the basketball from outside and they did some things defensively that gave us trouble,” Drummond said. “All in all, it’s a good win by our guys — mainly because we had so many players contribute to what we did tonight. We still have things to improve on between now and the rest of the season, but we are doing some positive things right now and we are getting close to full strength. We definitely have some momentum.”

Ohio Valley Christian — which had only five players score — battled more than depth and size issues in the contest. The hosts went 0-for-3 at the free throw line over the course of the evening, while the Raiders netted 9-of-16 charity tosses for 56 percent.

River Valley was whistled for 13 fouls on the night, while the hosts were called for only 10 fouls. The last of the fouls, however, was a technical foul on OVCS coach for Steve Rice with 1:08 left in regulation — which also led to the final points of the game.

Rice noted afterwards that River Valley played well enough to win, but he was pleased that he couldn’t really ask much more from his troops on this given night.

“There were some things we could have done better, but I thought my guys gave me everything they had to give,” Rice said. “We turned the ball over too much and we couldn’t really match up with their size on the boards or the depth of their bench, but the kids worked their butts off nonetheless. I’m proud of the way the kids played because it was difficult out there in a lot of different ways.”

River Valley connected on 21-of-61 field goal attempts for 34 percent, which included a 4-of-16 effort from behind the arc for 25 percent. The guests also committed 17 turnovers in the triumph.

Jacob Dovenbarger led the Raiders with a double-double effort of 19 points and 16 rebounds, both game-highs. Dustin Barber was next with 10 points, followed by Tre Craycraft and Ian Polcyn with six markers apiece.

Jarret McCarley chipped in five points and Rory Twyman added three points. Jordan Burns, Layne Fitch and Patrick Brown also had two points each for the victors.

Craycraft and Barber also hauled in seven rebounds apiece for RVHS.

The Defenders made 17-of-54 shot attempts overall for 31 percent, which included a meager 8-of-31 effort from inside the arc.

Hollis Morrison paced OVCS with 17 points, followed by McDonald and Austin Ragan with nine markers apiece. Nate Dubs and Andrew Dubs completed the scoring with respective efforts of five and two points.

Ragan led the hosts with seven rebounds, while Nate Dubs and Justin Beaver respectively added six and four caroms.

Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.

OVCS senior Elijah McDonald (32) releases a shot attempt over River Valley defender Jarret McCarley near the end of the first quarter Saturday night during a non-conference boys basketball contest in Gallipolis, Ohio.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2017/01/web1_1.10-OVC-Elijah.jpgOVCS senior Elijah McDonald (32) releases a shot attempt over River Valley defender Jarret McCarley near the end of the first quarter Saturday night during a non-conference boys basketball contest in Gallipolis, Ohio. Bryan Walters/OVP Sports

River Valley sophomore Layne Fitch (2) dribbles past OVCS defender Hollis Morrison (24) during the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s non-conference boys basketball contest in Gallipolis, Ohio.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/24/2017/01/web1_1.10-RV-Fitch.jpgRiver Valley sophomore Layne Fitch (2) dribbles past OVCS defender Hollis Morrison (24) during the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s non-conference boys basketball contest in Gallipolis, Ohio. Bryan Walters/OVP Sports

By Bryan Walters

bwalters@civitasmedia.com