ALBANY, Ohio —The Raiders, on the road and in ‘The Alley’, were within striking distance on Tuesday night.
But, in seemingly one fell swoop, the host Alexander Spartans struck like lightning in the third period.
The Spartans blitzed River Valley 22-8 in the third eight minutes — and easily pulled away for a 68-38 victory in a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division boys basketball tilt.
The contest was a makeup matchup from Friday night (Jan. 6), when it was postponed due to inclement weather.
Alexander only led 9-7 following the opening quarter, but did open up a 28-21 halftime advantage.
River Valley, however, did rally from a 21-9 second-stanza deficit —going on a 13-7 run to trail 28-22 early in the third.
But the Spartans surged back with a 27-6 spurt, including 14 points alone by Luke Kish, including all three of his three-pointers in the spree.
Alexander outscored River Valley 40-18 in the entire second half, as the Raiders suddenly found themselves down 50-28 following the third frame.
The Spartans then pushed their advantage out to 55-28 early in the fourth.
With the win, Alexander improved to 4-6 — and evened its TVC-Ohio mark to 2-2.
River Valley fell to 4-9, and remains winless in the league at 0-5.
The loss also snapped the Raiders’ three-game winning streak.
Simply put, the Raiders ran into some hot-shooting Spartans, which made 48-percent (25-of-52) overall and 46-percent (6-of-13) from three-point range.
Both teams shot 13 free throws, but Alexander meshed 12 tosses compared to eight for River Valley.
The Raiders, in addition, also shot only 30-percent (14-of-46) —including an ice-cold 2-of-16 (12.5-percent) from deep.
Alexander, in snapping a four-game losing skid, amassed a 25-14 advantage in total field goals.
Chace Harris, on nine field goals and 3-of-3 free throws, led the Spartans with a game-high 21 points.
Kish poured in 20 on eight total field goals —as his old-fashioned three-point play proverbially pushed the Spartans’ start button.
Wyatt Radford rained in a pair of threes for six points, as Ryan Davidson dropped in 3-of-4 foul shots for five — and Andy Merckle made 4-of-4 free throws for four.
Dustin Barber, on seven field goals and 2-of-4 free throws, paced the Raiders with 16 points.
Tre Craycraft and Patrick Brown bagged three baskets apiece for eight points, as Craycraft canned both of the club’s three-pointers.
Brown buried 2-of-3 free throws, while Jacob Dovenbarger — the Raiders’ standout six-foot, six-inch senior center — didn’t score a field goal.
Dovenbarger made 4-of-6 freebies, but was 0-of-10 from the field as he was guarded by Genesis Williams.
Williams was the game’s high rebounder with 10, as Dovenbarger grabbed seven.
Ian Polcyn rounded out the Raiders’ scoring with one bucket.
The Raiders return to the road, and return to action on Saturday night, when they travel to Belpre.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106