Whenever a shot goes up, the River Ridge boys basketball bench yells one word — rebound.
“We always have three keys for a game and rebound is always one of them,” River Ridge coach John Barbee said. “We spend a lot of time emphasizing that.”
Message well received.
The Hawks monopolized the boards Wednesday night as they routed Tumwater, 71-50, on the final day of the North Thurston Holiday Tournament.
“One of our goals is to try to keep teams in the 50s,” Barbee said. “Our guys take a lot of pride in their ‘D’ and it showed tonight. We worked really hard on the defensive end.”
River Ridge pulled down 35 rebounds to Tumwater’s 22, led by LaBrandon Price, who reeled in 10.
Another key that gave the Hawks the advantage?
“Their quickness,” Tumwater guard Ty Gentry said. “They go for everything. They go for the boards and they’re strong with it. We’ve got to finish.”
Gentry led the T-Birds with 14 points — 12 in the second half. He cut River Ridge’s lead to 40-31 with five minutes, 21 seconds left in the third, but the Hawks would go on a 18-7 run to enter the final period.
“They had a good run going, and we weren’t getting very many runs,” Gentry said. “Our defense was struggling.”
Cade Otton banked a jumper off the glass with 1:47 left in the first to give Tumwater an 11-8 lead, but the Hawks would take over from there.
Tre’Vonne Dorfner scored 10 points in the second quarter — he had 15 total to lead all scorers — to give River Ridge an 11-point lead at the half.
Which Price did his part to extend. He scored 12 of his 14 points in the third quarter.
On two consecutive possessions, Price snagged the ball from the T-Birds’ offense and converted on the other end.
His interception on a Tumwater inbounds pass with nine seconds to play and breakaway layup at the other end gave the Hawks a 58-38 lead at the end of the third quarter.
River Ridge’s well-balanced attack ran circles around Tumwater’s defense — nine different players found the basket.
Another key for River Ridge?
“It really is,” Price said. “I can give the ball to my teammates and I can trust them. Everybody can finish and everyone’s smart with their decisions.”
The Hawks held Tumwater to 19-of-60 shooting from the floor.
“It’s definitely a good eye-opener, and we can learn from it,” Gentry said.
And both teams can take it as an early sample of what the postseason might look like. River Ridge (8-1, 4-0 2A SPSL) and Tumwater (5-3) advanced to the regional round of the Class 2A state playoffs last season.
“It’s a good taste of what a good 2A team looks like,” Barbee said.