THE PLAINS, Ohio — The Raiders couldn’t keep up with the early pace, then ran out of gas down the stretch.
Host Athens built a 12-point halftime lead and ultimately cruised to a 74-48 victory over the River Valley boys basketball team on Friday night in a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division matchup at McAfee Gymnasium in Athens County.
The visiting Raiders (4-8, 1-4 TVC Ohio) put up a noble fight through the better part of three quarters, but the Bulldogs (8-2, 5-1) did just enough in the opening two frames to provide themselves with a little bit of breathing room.
Isaiah Butcher netted seven first quarter points as part of a 15-9 AHS run, then Andrew Stephens poured in eight markers during a 21-15 surge in the second that gave the Green and Gold a 36-24 intermission advantage.
Jordan Lambert scored eight points for RVHS during the third frame, but both squads eventually ended up trading 16 points apiece while extending the score out to 52-40 entering the finale.
The Silver and Black were never closer as Butcher tacked on seven points during a 22-8 fourth quarter push that wrapped up the 26-point outcome.
Athens outrebounded the guests by a slim 30-28 overall margin, but the Raiders did claim an 11-9 edge on the offensive boards. RVHS also committed 22 of the 39 turnovers in the game.
River Valley made 20 total field goals — including three 3-pointers — and also went 4-of-8 at the free throw line for 50 percent.
Lambert led the Raiders with 12 points and Brandon Call was next with 10 points, followed by Chase Caldwell and Mason Rhodes with six markers each.
Jordan Burns and Matt Mollohan contributed four points apiece, while Cole Young and Dylan Fulks completed the tally with respective efforts of three and two markers.
The Bulldogs netted 28 total field goals — including four trifectas — and also made 14-of-20 charity tosses for 70 percent.
Butcher paced AHS with a game-high 24 points, followed by Stephens with 16 points and Brayden Whiting with 10 markers.
Brayden Markins and Reece Wallace were respectively next with nine and seven points, while Nate Trayner and Joey Moore completed the winning tally with five and three points.
River Valley returns to action Friday when it hosts Alexander in a TVC Ohio matchup at 7 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.