Riverside rips ice-cold East Chapel Hill boys in PAC-6 play
Riverside looked to have a laugher against visiting East Chapel Hill on Friday night, blowing out to a 31-10 lead at halftime.
But the Wildcats had no designs on being the punch line, playing tough ball and outscoring the Pirates in the second half but falling 77-62.
Riverside sophomore 6-footer Justin Johnson nailed 19 points from the shooting guard position to lead all scorers. He was one of five Pirates in double figures on the night.
Carter Collins, a 5-foot-9 freshman guard, led East Chapel Hill with 17 points, including five 3-pointers in the second half when the Wildcats outscored Riverside 52-46 and made it a respectable game. He was one of three East Chapel Hill players in double digits.
The first half was abysmal for the Wildcats. They threw up so many bricks they could have been on a construction crew. They missed on short jumpers. Tossed air balls on long shots. They missed free throws. Overhand layups and underhand layups. And their passing was off the mark.
And for every miscue or hurried shot, there were Riverside players in their faces.
“I thought our defensive effort and intensity in the first half was something we were really shooting for,” Riverside coach Brian Strickland said.
“I thought that intensity carried over to the offensive side of the ball, that mentality that every possession matters, and every bucket matters,” Strickland said.
“The second half it kind of got away from us a little bit. Every basket didn’t matter as much because we were fortunate enough to have a lead,” he said.
“But they’re going to make their run. [East Chapel Hill] Coach [Ray] Hartsfield is a heck of a coach. He’s been at this for a long while and he’s got a good ball club,” Strickland said.
East Chapel Hill started playing more aggressively after halftime, going with a robust full-court press and double- or triple-teaming Riverside offensive players when they got the ball. The game got more physical, too, with a couple of flashes of temper over rough contact.
“That was something we knew to be expecting and we tried to do the same thing as well,” Strickland said of the increased defensive pressure in the second half. “I think at times it hurt us, but I thought we handled it pretty good overall.”
East Chapel Hill lost two players to fouls. Big junior forward Duncan Hemminger picked up his fifth foul to open the fourth period, and senior guard Tykeem Woodard fouled out at 4:39 of the same period.
Meanwhile, Collins’ 3-pointers made the game much more interesting — and intense — and Strickland said his team needs to learn how to avoid allowing those open shots.
“You’ve got to close ball games. While we had a lead tonight and we were fortunate enough to hang onto it there at the end, that hasn’t always been the case,” Strickland said.
RIVERSIDE 77, EAST CHAPEL HILL 62
East Chapel Hill 3 7 25 27 — 62
Riverside 16 15 21 25 — 77
EAST CHAPEL HILL — Carter Collins 17, Robert Wilson 15, Arkavius Parks 13, Lawyer Dallas 7, Tykeem Woodard 6, Josh Lai 3, Dawud Salim 1.
RIVERSIDE — Justin Johnson 19, Markeise Crutchfield 15, Dexter McCrea 13, Joey Cabrera 12, C.J. Carpenter 11, Terrence Suitt 3, Eric Peaks 1.
Records — East Chapel Hill 8-10, 1-4 PAC-6 4-A; Riverside 10-9, 2-3 PAC-6.
RIVERSIDE 41, EAST CHAPEL HILL 33
East Chapel Hill 15 5 5 8 — 33
Riverside 6 8 7 20 — 41
EAST CHAPEL HILL — Ali Cyr-Scully 13, Sarah Towne 9, T.J. Johnson 7, Riley Foster 2, Grace Haley 2.
RIVERSIDE — Kiara Jacobs 18, Moné Jones 9, Zaria Rogers 5, Atlanta Woodall 5, Andrea’Anna Poole 3, Yakima Clifton 1.
Records— East Chapel Hill 6-10, 1-4 PAC-6 4-A; Riverside 12-5, 4-1 PAC-6.