NELSONVILLE, Ohio — Just a little too late.
The River Valley boys basketball team made a late charge, but a 34-18 run in the middle frames ultimately allowed host Nelsonville-York enough breathing room to hold on for a 61-56 decision on Friday night in a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division contest in Athens County.
The visiting Raiders (3-17, 0-10 TVC Ohio) were firing on all cylinders early on after building a 12-2 advantage less than three minutes into regulation, but the Buckeyes (9-10, 4-5) countered with a 17-7 surge and ultimately knotted things up at 19-all through eight minutes of play.
The Silver and Black never led again, but found themselves deadlocked at 28-all late into the second frame. The hosts answered with a nine consecutive points as part of a 10-1 surge to close out the canto, allowing NYHS to secure a 39-29 advantage at the break.
The Orange and Brown established their largest lead of the night at 46-30, then traded seven points apiece the rest of the stanza to again own a 53-37 cushion entering the fourth.
The Raiders opened the finale with a small 7-4 spurt to close back to within 13 points, then went on a 10-0 run that trimmed the deficit down to 57-54 following a Jordan Lambert putback with 57 seconds remaining.
A pair of NYHS free throws offset a Layne Fitch basket over the next 22 seconds, still making it a one-possession contest at 59-56 with 35.4 seconds left.
The Raiders came up short on a trifecta attempt during their ensuing possession, but then hauled in an offensive rebound and had the ball inside for a decent look.
RVHS, however, turned the ball over in traffic, and a Raider was assessed a technical foul for arguing that a foul should have been called before the turnover with 13.5 seconds remaining.
The Buckeyes missed both charity tosses on the technical foul, but retained possession. The hosts successfully inbounded the ball to Ethan Bohyer, who was immediately fouled before sinking both charity tosses with 11.4 seconds left in regulation.
Neither team scored the rest of the way, allowing Nelsonville-York to hold on for the five-point triumph.
NYHS also claimed a season sweep of River Valley after posting a 58-43 decision in Bidwell back on Jan. 4.
The Raiders outrebounded the hosts by a 39-29 overall margin and also committed 16 of the 29 turnovers in the contest.
River Valley netted 22-of-59 field goal attempts for 37 percent, including a 6-of-24 effort from behind the arc for 25 percent. The guests were also 6-of-13 at the free throw line for 46 percent.
Layne Fitch paced the Silver and Black with a game-high 21 points, with 14 of those coming in the opening canto. Lambert was next with a double-double effort of 19 points and 18 rebounds, while Brandon Call chipped in six markers.
Rory Twyman and Chase Caldwell completed the scoring with five points apiece.
The Buckeyes made 22-of-49 shot attempts for 45 percent, including a 7-of-20 effort from behind the arc for 35 percent. The hosts were also 10-of-19 at the charity stripe for 53 percent.
Bryce Richards paced NYHS with 18 points, with Bohyer and Justin Perry following with 16 markers apiece. Ethan Gail was next with six points, while Reece Robson and Mikey Seel completed the winning tally with respective efforts of three and two markers.
River Valley returns to action Tuesday when it welcomes Vinton County for a TVC Ohio contest at 6 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.