BIDWELL, Ohio — A tough start to the new year.
After a two-week hiatus, the River Valley boys basketball team shot just 19 percent from the field in the first half as visiting Nelsonville-York rolled to a 58-43 victory Friday night in a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division matchup in Gallia County.
The host Raiders (1-7, 0-4 TVC Ohio) claimed their only lead of the night on a Jordan Lambert basket 38 seconds into regulation, but the Buckeyes (5-5, 2-2) countered with nine consecutive points and ultimately made 8-of-15 shot attempts en route to building an 18-8 first quarter cushion.
The Silver and Black — after missing nine of their first 10 field goal tries — managed to trim the deficit down to 18-10 after a Lambert basket 25 seconds into the second canto, but the Raiders were never closer as NYHS reeled off four straight points and led by at least nine points the rest of the night.
River Valley closed to within 26-17 with 3:30 left in the half as Layne Fitch hit a basket, but the Orange and Brown retaliated with seven straight points over the final 2:13 while building their largest first half lead at 33-17 entering the break.
The Raiders — who made only 6-of-31 shot attempts in the first half — managed to stay even with Nelsonville-York in the third frame as both teams scored 11 points apiece for a 44-28 contest entering the finale.
Mickey Seel have the Buckeyes their largest lead of the night (47-28) after completing an old-fashioned 3-point play 15 seconds into the fourth, but the hosts answered with a 15-11 run to wrap up the 15-point outcome.
River Valley ended up outscoring NYHS by a single point in the second half and also held the guests without a single offensive rebound after the break.
RVHS coach Brett Bostic noted that there were some positives to take away from the evening. But, as he put it, there really isn’t much you can do when the ball won’t fall through the hole.
“When you don’t make shots, you don’t score a lot of points. Everything becomes a little more magnified from there as each possession becomes a little more important,” Bostic said. “We competed well there in the back half of the game, and that was encouraging given the two-week layoff. We have young kids learning to compete, and they kept competing down to the end. That first half just ended up being too much for us to overcome.”
Nelsonville-York — which netted 14-of-26 field goal tries in the first half — eventually cooled off and still finished the night with a double-digit lead over the final 18:13 of regulation.
In all, the guests netted 23-of-47 field goal attempts for 49 percent, including a 2-of-10 effort from behind the arc for 20 percent.
— The Raiders, conversely, went 16-of-49 from the field for 33 percent, including a 2-of-13 performance from 3-point territory for 15 percent.
Both teams committed 10 turnovers apiece in the contest. The Buckeyes also claimed a 31-26 advantage in rebounds, but RVHS mustered an 8-5 edge on the offensive glass.
Lambert paced the hosts with 17 points and eight rebounds, followed by Rory Twyman with 11 points and Brandon Call with six markers.
Cole Young was next with three points, while Fitch, Miles Morrison and Jordan Burns each added two points in the setback.
The Raiders were 9-of-16 at the free throw line for 56 percent. Call and Fitch also hauled in seven and four boards, respectively.
Seel scored 16 of his game-high 22 points for NYHS in the first half, followed by Bryce Richards with 12 points and Ethan Bohyer with eight markers to go along with a team-high 10 rebounds.
Austin Thrapp was next with seven points, with Justin Perry chipping in five points. Chris Beyette and Keegan Wilburn finished off the winning tally with two points apiece.
The guests were 10-of-11 at the charity stripe for 91 percent. Wilburn and Reece Robson also grabbed six and four caroms in the triumph.
River Valley returns to action Tuesday when it travels to McArthur to face Vinton County in a TVC Ohio contest at 6 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.