Riverside's Tillotson lifts Pirates to twinbill sweep of ECH
Riverside center Mike Tillotson scored on a putback with 20 seconds left, but the Pirates had to survive a last-second 3-point attempt to put away East Chapel Hill 50-49 in a frantic finish on Friday night.
In the girls’ game opener, Riverside’s Zaria Rogers scored 16 points as the Pirates held off an East Chapel Hill rally to score a 53-43 victory.
The Pirates (5-5, 1-0 PAC-6) led for most of the game before ECH’s Ali Cyr-Scully drained a 3-pointer with two seconds left in the third quarter to tie the game at 32-32. Riverside, though, went on a 13-4 run to start the fourth quarter and put away the Wildcats (2-8, 0-2 PAC-6).
Adrienne Davis added 11 points and Sarah Towne 10 for ECH.
Tillotson, a 6-foot-7 senior, rebounded a missed jumper to put the Pirates back on top in the nightcap after the lead changed hands four times in the final 1:11.
The Wildcats’ Arkavius Parks missed a jumper in the closing seconds that went out of bounds, and the game appeared to be over. But the officials put one second back on the clock and handed the ball to Riverside. The Pirates (5-5, 1-0 PAC-6) fumbled the ball out of bounds, but time didn’t expire.
After Riverside called timeout, ECH inbounded to Justen Best, who somehow was able to get off a 3-pointer that rattled in and out.
“Good high school basketball game,” ECH coach Ray Hartsfield said.
The two disciplined, well-coached teams battled the entire game, with seven lead changes and three ties in the first half before Riverside appeared to take control in the third quarter. Jordan Jones, who led the Pirates with 14 points, tapped in a rebound for a 42-36 Riverside lead at the start of the fourth quarter.
But ECH (6-4, 0-2 PAC-6) didn’t go away.
“We talked about our defensive energy changing and trying to limit them to one shot,” Hartsfield said. “They were getting too much dribble penetration down the lane, down the baseline. We had to take that away from them and see how they did pushing them out.”
The Wildcats reeled off nine consecutive points, getting the lead on a Best 3 and pushing it to 45-42 on two Parks free throws.
“I think it got away from us a little bit,” Riverside coach Brian Strickland said. “But I was proud of our guys. They came charging back pretty good, and I knew they would. But we dug in.”
The teams traded baskets before Joey Cabrera scored his only basket of the game, a long 3-pointer with 2:04 to play that tied the game at 47-47.
Jake Kilkey made 1 of 2 free throws to give ECH a 49-48 lead with 38 seconds left, but Tillotson was in the right place and made an aggressive rebound and follow to push Riverside back on top.
“He had been hitting the boards well all night,” Strickland said. “He was getting his hands on the ball, whether it be deflecting shots, deflecting rebounds, always in the mix somehow. That’s what we ask of him.”
Hartsfield called timeout to set up the final shot, but ECH didn’t get off a good shot, and Parks’ jumper missed the mark. The game wasn’t over, though, and Hartsfield drew up a play for a Best jumper, figuring Riverside would prepare for a lob.
“That was a tough situation, for sure,” Strickland said. “I thought we defended it well, but they made a nice curl and got a decent look up. It didn’t drop, and we were lucky enough to come away with a win.”
Al Hughes led the Pirates with 13 points, and Justice Kithcart added 10.
Riverside 50, E. Chapel Hill 49 (Boys)
East Chapel Hill|15|10|11|13—49
RIVERSIDE — Jordan Jones 14, Al Hughes 13, Justice Kithcart 10, Mike Tillotson 7, Mike Hodge 3, Joey Cabrera 3.
EAST CHAPEL HILL — Justen Best 18, Arkavius Parks 15, Robert Wilson 7, Jake Hilkey 5, Tykeem Woodard 2, Lawyer Dallas 2.
3-point FG—Riverside 3 (Hughers, Cabrera, Kithcart), East Chapel Hill 5 (Best 3, Parks 2). Total fouls—Riverside 17, East Chapel Hill 11.
Records—Riverside 5-5, 1-0 PAC-6; East Chapel Hill 6-4, 1-1 PAC-6.
Riverside 53, East Chapel Hill 43 (Girls)
East Chapel Hill|7|7|18|11—43
RIVERSIDE — Zaria Rogers 16, Yakima Clifton 9, Adrianna Pool 7, Kiara Jacobs 7, Meghan Pleasants 6, Mone Jones 6, Ajeya Boggen Murden 2.
EAST CHAPEL HILL — Ali Cyr-Scully 16, Adrienne Davis 11, Sarah Towne 10, Riley Foster 6.
3-point field goals—Riverside 1 (Clifton 1), East Chapel Hill 6 (Davis 3, Cyr-Scully 2, Towne 1). Total fouls—Riverside 16, East Chapel Hill 9.
Records—Riverside 5-5, 1-0 PAC-6; East Chapel Hill 2-8, 0-2 PAC-6.