BIDWELL, Ohio — Bryan Drummond, during his postgame media interview following Friday night’s game, not only smiled — but knocked his fist on the wooden frame of his basketball office desk.
“The guys (players) were trying to tell me to smile more in the locker-room,” said Drummond, the first-year River Valley boys basketball coach.
But, Drummond indeed had to be happy about arguably the Raiders’ most complete performance of this season.
That’s because host River Valley, in leading for the game’s final 25 minutes and 53 seconds, crafted a 64-38 blowout of the Nelsonville-York Buckeyes —in Friday night’s Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division tilt.
The Raiders only trailed for 30 seconds of the entire 32 minutes, as Nelsonville-York’s lone lead was at 13-11 at the 2:55 mark of the opening quarter.
Otherwise, River Valley dominated the Buckeyes for the final three quarters — outscoring Nelsonville-York 46-25 in that span.
The Raiders posted a 35-24 halftime advantage, then proceeded to stymie the Buckeyes to single digits in each of the final two periods.
Simply stated, Drummond said this was his young Raiders’ best effort thus far.
Friday’s win was the Silver and Black’s fifth in its last seven bouts — but with N-Y entering at 8-5 — this was the Raiders’ most quality ‘W’.
River Valley raised its record to 6-10 — as both clubs are now 1-5 in the TVC-Ohio.
“This is our best win so far this year for sure,” he said. “Because of the quality of opponent. They (Buckeyes) were 8-4 coming into this game. We got scoring from more than one guy, we rebounded the ball well and we pushed the ball well. Defensively, we were aggressive tonight and all over the place. It (defense) was better tonight than it has been all year. They (Buckeyes) were sloppy with the ball, but I think our defense helped make them sloppy. And we pressed a little more tonight because we’ve got all of our guys back.”
River Valley, which got Nelsonville-York into a helter-skelter pace which forced several turnovers, won the third frame 13-9 for a 48-33 margin following three.
The Raiders then only extended their lead in the final stanza, as the Buckeyes’ only points in the period were a Christian Berry three-pointer just 15 seconds in — and a split of free throws by Aaron Davis and Ronnie Wend.
River Valley amassed 16 points in the quarter, as the 64-38 final score was indeed its largest lead.
The Buckeyes were within single digits (39-30) only once in the second half — as the Raiders led by double figures for the contest’s final 12:10.
Of the seven Raiders which scored, all seven scored at least one field goal, which was started by Patrick Brown with the opening bucket of the night.
From there, the contest quickly became the Jacob Dovenbarger show — as the six-foot, six-inch senior center poured in a game-high 28 points.
Dovenbarger — on 10 total field goals and 6-of-8 free throws — amounted 14 points in each half.
He also sank both of his three-point attempts — as his first made it 35-24 right before halftime, then his second gave the Raiders their double-digit lead for good.
He also grabbed 15 rebounds for a strong double-double.
Dustin Barber, on four field goals and two made free throws, bucketed 10 points — as his old-fashioned three-point play made it 18-13 with 13 seconds left in the opening period.
Jarret McCarley canned three three-pointers for nine points, including on back-to-back possessions early in the second stanza from the left wing.
His second pushed the River Valley edge to 24-15 at the 4:45 mark, as a Barber steal and layup made it a double-digit score (30-19) just a minute and five seconds later.
Tre Craycraft connected on two treys towards eight points, as Layne Fitch made the only other three early in the third to make it 39-26.
Ian Polcyn, with two buckets, rounded out the Raiders’ scoring.
In all, River Valley held a 24-15 advantage in total field goals.
“We’ve got all our guys finally. Everyone is healthy,” said Drummond. “And team chemistry. We’re starting to play as ‘one’. We got good things from every single person that stepped on the floor tonight. It was a great win and a league win for us.”
And, for the Buckeyes, a tough loss both ways.
While Davis drained five field goals and 3-of-4 free throws for 15 points, all but one of his markers came in the first half.
He notched two triples, as Ethan Bohyer bagged five field goals for 10 points.
Hunter Edwards, Nelsonville-York’s top player aside from Davis, scored just two baskets and made one foul shot.
Patrick Gail — with a basket in the second quarter — and Justin Perry, with a field goal in the third, rounded out the Buckeye scoring.
The Raiders return to TVC-Ohio action on Tuesday night, when they travel to Athens.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106