The River Ridge High School boys basketball team needed a reset.
So, with three minutes, 11 seconds left to play on Wednesday night, coach John Barbee waved down officials for a timeout.
Renton, which trailed by as many as 17 points early on, gradually cut down River Ridge’s lead to tie the game at 67-67.
“Really, I think the words were, ‘Let’s reset, let’s go back to what worked,’ which was getting the ball in the paint,” Barbee said. “Good things happen when we get to the paint.”
From there, Jordan Skipper-Brown converted a quick layup on an alley-oop pass from Trey Dorfner, and the Hawks closed the game on an 11-2 run, to beat the Indians, 78-69.
“We knew what was at stake, and we showed up,” said Dorfner, who led the Hawks with 18 points.
Certainly, it was a refreshing win after losing to Steilacoom in an upset only two days earlier, when River Ridge watched a close Class 2A South Puget Sound League game slip away late.
“That was a tough game, but we came in focused today, and we worked,” Dorfner said.
The Hawks opened the first quarter on an 18-5 run, and kept a steady lead throughout the first half with seven different players contributing baskets.
DeNero Washington, who scored 14 points, gave the Hawks their largest lead just before the half.
Following a turnover, Kolton Knox scurried across midcourt, bounced the ball to Dorfner in the paint, who then dished it to Washington for the easy layin.
River Ridge led, 49-34, at the break after a quick answer by Renton.
“The first half, we did a lot of sharing the ball and moving it,” Dorfner said. “That’s something we really needed to do to beat this team.”
But, aided by Dabreon Waters-Mitchell’s game-high 22 points, Renton clawed its way back.
The Indians took their first lead with 4:53 to play, when Waters-Mitchell rattled in his fourth 3-pointer of the night to make it 65-63.
Renton finished with eight 3-pointers.
“Renton is good,” Barbee said. “They’re scrappy, they play fast. They’re going to give some people some problems.”
Dorfner evened the game again on the following possession. Then Edward Barquet and Kelle Sanders traded baskets to tie it again 67-67.
Little more than a minute later, after neither side could convert, Barbee called the timeout.
River Ridge finished with four players, including Dorfner and Washington, in double figures.
Traditionally a run-and-gun team, forwards Josh Kennedy (17 points), Sanders (12) and Skipper-Brown (eight) each heavily contributed to the win. The three combined for nine of River Ridge’s final 11 points out of the timeout.
“I think we’ve just got to play to our strengths, and not to our hearts, and not our egos, but really to what works,” Barbee said. “For us, when we go big, we’ve got to take advantage of that.”
River Ridge (10-4, 6-2 2A SPSL Sound Division) inched closer to the top of the division with the win, but is still in the chase.
“I think we’re heading in the right direction,” Barbee said.
R – Waters-Mitchell 22, Williams 8, Garner 2, Jones 10, Locke 7, Teclemariam 3, Barquet 6, Coats 8, Siegel 4
RR – Coleman 3, Dorfner 18, Skipper-Brown 8, Washington 14, Knox 6, Sanders 12, Kennedy 17