BIDWELL, Ohio — If nothing else, the Lady Raiders saved their best for last.
The River Valley girls basketball team never trailed, scored a season-high in points and had four players reach double figures while picking up its first win of the 2017-18 campaign on Saturday during a 68-29 decision over visiting Point Pleasant in Gallia County.
The Lady Raiders (1-20) made the absolute most of their regular season finale, which also served as Senior Night for both Jaden Neal and Carly Gilmore. The hosts shot 43 percent from the field, had eight players reach the scoring column and also forced 31 turnovers while rolling to the 39-point triumph.
The Silver and Black also snapped a pair of longer skids with the victory. River Valley ended a 37-game overall skid, with its last win coming at Athens (42-35) back on Dec. 12, 2016. The Lady Raiders last won at home on Dec. 8, 2016, after posting a 42-40 decision over Wellston.
In a basketball season filled with frustration, RVHS coach Stephen Roderick was pleased to finally have the weight of a King Kong-sized gorilla off of his program’s back — especially headed into the postseason.
More importantly, the second-year mentor was simply thrilled that his troops were able to have an experience like this in their final home game — particularly his two upperclassmen.
“We’ve been on the other end of these so many times, so it does feel great to finally be on the winning side,” Roderick said. “More than anything, I’m happy for these girls and especially those two seniors. They’ve stuck together and they’ve continued to work hard through all of it, and seeing those smiles after the game was something to be proud of.
“It was a special day for those kids and now we have some momentum headed into the tournament. Hopefully we can bottle some of this up and take it with us to Logan when we face New Lexington Monday night.”
After a two-all tie 30 seconds into regulation, the Lady Raiders took a permanent lead at the 7:23 mark after Kaylee Gillman nailed a trifecta for a 5-2 edge.
The Lady Knights (1-20) countered with a small 6-5 run to close to within 10-8 at the midway point of the opening frame, but the hosts answered with 11 consecutive points to close out the period with a 21-8 advantage.
PPHS committed nine turnovers and went just 1-of-10 from the field in the second canto, and River Valley made the most of that span with a 16-4 surge that resulted in a commanding 37-12 lead headed into the break.
The Lady Raiders came out of the locker room with their best quarter of the game, going 9-of-17 from the floor as part of an 18-10 run that led to a 55-22 cushion headed into the finale.
The Red and Black went scoreless in the fourth stanza until the 2:42 mark as Tristan Wilson converted a layup for a 61-24 contest. The hosts completed the game with a 7-5 run to wrap up the 39-point outcome, the largest lead of the game.
River Valley outrebounded the guests by a 31-21 overall margin, including a 15-7 edge on the offensive glass. The Silver and Black also committed only 13 turnovers in the triumph.
The Lady Raiders made 30-of-69 field goal attempts, including a 5-of-16 effort from three-point range for 31 percent. RVHS was also 3-of-5 at the free throw line for 60 percent.
Neal and Gilmore led River Valley with 13 points apiece, followed by Hannah Jacks with 12 points and Kaylee Gillman with 11 markers.
Savannah Reese and Jordan Garrison were next with six points each, while Kelsey Brown and Beth Gillman completed the winning tally with respective efforts of four and three points.
Kaylee Gillman led the hosts with seven rebounds and Brown was next with six caroms. Neal and Garrison also grabbed four boards apiece.
The Lady Knights — who dropped their 15th straight decision — made 11-of-41 shot attempts for 27 percent, including a 1-of-14 effort from behind the arc for seven percent. The guests were also 6-of-10 at the charity stripe for 60 percent.
Peyton Campbell led PPHS and all scorers with a game-high 23 points, followed by Allison Henderson with four points and Wilson with two markers.
Campbell also led the guests with six rebounds, with Henderson and Wilson also hauling in five and four caroms respectively.
River Valley played New Lexington on Monday night in a Division II sectional quarterfinal game at Logan High School.
Point Pleasant will host Sissonville on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.