BIDWELL, Ohio — The little things made all the difference.
The River Valley boys basketball team committed 22 turnovers and were dominated on the offensive glass Tuesday night during a 54-34 setback to visiting Alexander in a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division matchup in Gallia County.
The Raiders (3-12, 0-6 TVC Ohio) led only once in the opening moments of the game, but the hosts used a stingy defensive effort to hang around with Spartans (13-4, 5-2) through three quarters of play.
RVHS, however, missed its final eight shot attempts and committed eight turnovers in the fourth quarter, allowing the guests to make a 17-3 charge down the stretch to wrap up the 20-point outcome. Alexander also claimed a season sweep of the Silver and Black after posting a 63-21 win in Albany back on December 8.
Neither squad shot better than 35 percent in the contest, but AHS outrebounded the hosts by a 36-27 overall margin — which included a sizable 19-6 edge on the offensive glass. The Red and Black committed only seven turnovers in the triumph, while the Raiders matched that number in the second period alone.
The Spartans shot 34 percent from the field and never led by more than three possessions headed into the finale, but the Silver and Black never came closer than their 37-31 deficit after the third stanza.
It was a frustrating night for second-year RVHS coach Jeremy Peck, mainly in the fact that his troops managed to fight through so much adversity only to have things end the way they did.
“I thought we played defense really well tonight, but we gave them too many second chances and we also had too many turnovers. Those are things that we are definitely going to have to tighten up,” Peck said. “We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but we still managed to battle and hang around. I cannot fault the effort of my guys tonight, things just didn’t go our way.”
Hollis Morrison gave the hosts their only lead of the evening with a trifecta at the 6:40 mark, making it 3-2 in the early moments of regulation. Seth Richardson responded with a basket at the 5:04 mark, allowing AHS to secure a permanent lead while also sparking a 6-4 run to close the quarter for a Spartan 8-7 edge.
River Valley closed to within 15-13 following a Kirk Morrow bucket at the 2:41 mark, but Alexander countered with a 7-2 surge over the next two minutes for its largest lead of the half at 22-15. Jarrett McCarley drilled a trifecta with 15 second left, allowing the hosts to close to within 22-18 at the break.
The Silver and Black twice trailed by nine points midway through the third canto, but the Raiders eventually clawed their way back to within 31-29 following a pair of McCarley free throws with 1:55 remaining. AHS closed the quarter on a 6-2 spurt for a 37-31 lead entering the fourth.
River Valley missed all six of its field goal attempts in the fourth quarter and went the final 2:15 of regulation with scoring. The final 20-point margin of victory also served as Alexander’s largest lead of the night.
The Raiders connected on 11-of-37 field goal attempts for 30 percent, including a 2-of-13 effort from behind the arc for 15 percent. The hosts were also 10-of-11 at the free throw line for 91 percent. Jacob Dovenbarger led River Valley with a double-double effort 11 points and 11 rebounds, followed by McCarley with seven points and Morrow with six markers.
Tyler Twyman was next with five points, while Morrison and Tre Craycraft rounded out the scoring with respective efforts of three and two markers. McCarley and Morrow also hauled in five rebounds apiece for the hosts.
Alexander netted 20-of-59 shot attempts overall, including a 5-of-19 effort from behind the arc for 26 percent. AHS also went 9-of-13 at the charity stripe for 69 percent. Richardson led the guests with a game-high 20 points, followed by Chace Harris with 11 points and Cory Chapman with 10 markers.
Mason Chapman and Jake Weaver were next with six and four points, respectively, while Michael Norris and Kyle Howard rounded out the winning tally with two points and one point. Chapman led the Spartans with nine rebounds and Richardson also hauled in seven caroms.
River Valley returns to action Friday night when it travels to Meigs for a TVC Ohio contest at 6 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.