BIDWELL, Ohio — In the end, the Raiders just couldn’t catch up.
Visiting Athens shot 51 percent from the field through three quarters and ultimately made a 13-point lead hold up down the stretch Friday night during a 65-55 victory over the River Valley boys basketball team in a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division matchup in Gallia County.
The host Raiders (5-14, 1-9 TVC Ohio) mustered their only lead of the night at 5-4 on a trifecta by Brandon Call at the 3:13 mark of the first period, but the Bulldogs (14-5, 9-2) quickly countered with a 9-3 surge over the final 1:49 while building a 13-8 edge.
Despite seven of the 10 turnovers in the opening stanza, the Silver and Black were fortunate to be down only two possessions entering the second. The hosts netted four of their first seven shot attempts during an 8-4 surge that trimmed the deficit down to a single point at 17-16 with 3:36 remaining.
AHS countered with a quick 4-2 spurt, but Jordan Lambert answered with a basket at the 2:47 mark that again made it a 1-point game at 21-20.
The Green and Gold, however, reeled off 10 consecutive points over the next two minutes and closed the final 2:14 of the half with a 10-2 charge that gave the guests a 31-22 advantage headed into the intermission.
Brandon Call capped a 15-10 River Valley run out of the break with a basket at the 2:34 mark, cutting the lead down to 41-37. RVHS was also never closer the rest of the way.
Athens retaliated with nine straight points to close out the final 1:28 of the quarter, giving the guests a comfortable 50-37 cushion entering the finale.
A Cole Young offensive putback with 2:28 left in regulation allowed the Raiders to complete a 14-6 run that closed the gap down to 56-51, but the guests made a 9-5 run the rest of the way to complete the 10-point triumph.
The Bulldogs also claimed a season sweep of the Silver and Black after posting a 74-28 decision at Athens back on Jan. 10.
The Green and Gold outrebounded the hosts by a 33-31 overall margin, but the Raiders claimed a 15-9 edge on the offensive glass. AHS also committed 18 of the 31 turnovers in the contest.
River Valley netted 24-of-62 field goal attempts for 39 percent, including a 1-of-15 effort from behind the arc for seven percent. The hosts also went 6-of-13 at the free throw line for 46 percent.
Lambert paced RVHS with a game-high 27 points, followed by Call with 18 points and Mason Rhodes with six markers. Young completed the scoring with four points.
Call and Chase Caldwell led the Raiders with seven rebounds each, with Lambert also hauling in five caroms. River Valley also missed its last 14 3-point field goal tries.
The Bulldogs sank 24-of-50 shot attempts for 48 percent, including a 6-of-16 effort from 3-point territory for 38 percent. The guests also made 11-of-15 charity tosses for 73 percent.
Breyden Markins led AHS with 23 points and nine rebounds, followed by Brayden Whiting with 18 points and Will Matters with 10 markers. Jack Conwell also added five points to the winning cause.
Andrew Stephens and Reece Wallace chipped in four points each, while Nate Trainer completed things with a single point. Whiting and Stephens also grabbed seven and five boards, respectively.
River Valley returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Nelsonville-York during its Senior Night contest at 7 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.