Following the Hawks’ 68-45 nonleague boys basketball victory over the North Thurston Rams on Friday night, coach Jeremy Landram was pleased with his team’s all-around effort.
The balanced scoring, solid team rebounding and defensive pressure were just a few things to be pleased about.
“The kids came out ready to play,” Landram said. “They wanted to overcome what happened against Timberline in the tentativeness. They did a good job of attacking.”
It was second consecutive win for River Ridge (2-1) and second win over a team from the Class 3A Western Cascade Conference. On Wednesday, River Ridge beat Timberline, 50-47, thanks in part to Joel King’s buzzer-beating shot.
King had 15 points against the Rams, but also found other ways to contribute to his team’s win: rebounding and finding his open teammates.
The team had plenty of contributors on the offensive end. Freshman guard Brad Wallace heated up in the second half and led all scorers with a game-high 18 points, including three 3-pointers. Ray Neal had many of his 15 points on second- and third-chance opportunities in the paint, and Neal and King also reached double figures in rebounding.
The balanced scoring night in and night out is what the Hawks will need to be an effective team, Landram said.
“We need three to four guys to give us that eight to 15 points a night,” he said.
River Ridge led from start to finish and had a double-digit lead for three-and-a-half quarters. The Rams (1-2) got to within 10 at 40-30 after Matt Reid’s 3-pointer with 5:42 left in the third quarter. After that, it was all River Ridge, as the Hawks went on a 16-3 run to start the fourth and eventually had a 30-point lead after a Wallace 3-pointer with 3:05 left.
The youthful Rams return no starters from last year’s team and only have a few players with minimal varsity experience. Ben Broeker had a team-high 17 points, but only had four after halftime. Of the team’s 18 first-half points, 13 came from Broeker.
River Ridge held North Thurston to two field goals in the second quarter, with one of them coming from Broeker on a breakaway in the final seconds of the half. Landon Rushton had 10 points as the other North Thurston player in double figures.
“We didn’t show a lot of poise and composure,” North Thurston coach Tim Brown said.
His team has a quick turnaround, following the loss with a road game against Lakes today at 7 p.m.
“The little things we can improve on, we can improve on (today),” Brown said. “Attitude and passion.”
River Ridge will take on Hoquiam next Friday in its Evergreen Conference opener