TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — The Raiders didn’t waste any time making up for their slow start.
The River Valley boys basketball team trailed non-conference host Eastern 8-4 after hitting just 1-of-13 field goals in the first period of Friday’s season opener in Meigs County. The Raiders, however, connected on nine shots, including seven three-pointers in the second quarter, and never looked back on their way to the 52-29 victory.
Eastern (0-1) began the game with back-to-back three-pointers, and led until the 6:20 mark of the second quarter, when RVHS (1-0) tied it at 10 on a Mason Rhodes three-pointer. A three-pointer by Matthew Blanchard reestablished the Eagle lead 12 seconds later, but another triple by Rhodes, followed by one by Jance Lambert, gave the Raiders the lead at 16-13.
River Valley never trailed again, leading 30-17 at halftime. The Eagles hit back-to-back buckets to start the second half, but the Silver and Black closed the third quarter with a 12-to-1 run for a 42-22 victory.
The Raiders scored 10 of the first 13 points in the fourth, earning their largest lead of the night, at 52-25, with 2:51 to play. The Eagles claimed the final four points and fell 52-29.
Eastern won the rebounding battle by a 40-to-28 count, but committed 27 turnovers, 16 more than River Valley. RVHS was within three on the offensive glass, with EHS taking a 15-to-12 edge. Combined, the Raiders finished with nine assists, nine steals and five rejections, while the Eagles collected four assists and four rejections.
The guests shot 20-of-54 (37.0 percent) from the field, including 8-of-24 (33.3 percent) from deep, while Eastern made 11-of-43 (25.6 percent) field goal attempts, including 3-of-10 (30 percent) three-point tries. Both teams made a quartet of free throws, RVHS in 14 attempts for 28.6 percent, and EHS in 10 tries for 40 percent.
Jordan Lambert led the Raiders with 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Rhodes and Jance Lambert had nine points apiece in the win, while Trae Russell and Chase Barber scored four each, with Russell also grabbing seven rebounds. Kade Alderman and Dylan Fulks rounded out the RVHS total with two points each.
Leading the guests on defense, Jordan Lambert had two steals and two blocks, while Barber ended with a game-best three steals.
Blanchard paced the hosts with 10 points, followed by Jace Bullington with five points and eight rebounds. Brad Hawk and Bryce Newland scored four points apiece, with Newland earning a team-best two steals. Isaiah Reed contributed three points and team-highs of 10 rebounds and two assists for Eastern, Brady Watson chipped in with two points, while Trey Hill scored one.
Both teams return to action on Tuesday, with River Valley hosting Symmes Valley, and Eastern traveling to Alexander.
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.