GREENSVILLE — Wilson Memorial led by 25 points at the end of three quarters Friday night and that was too much for Riverheads to overcome as the Hornets finished with a 69-64 victory in Shenandoah District boys basketball action.
Riverheads outscored Wilson 30-10 in the fourth quarter before time ran out on the Gladiators’ frenetic comeback effort.
Pressure defense plus quality shooting was the recipe for success in the first half as the Hornets led 40-20 at the break.
“We had to get back to our style of pressuring the basketball and forcing turnovers,” said Wilson Memorial head coach Jeremy Hartman. “Our defense was a key to our offense as forcing those turnovers led to some easy baskets.”
The Green Hornets made six shots from 3-point range in the first two quarters and finished the contest with nine 3-pointers made.
“We were 0-for-15 from three against Fort, so it was good to see the ball go in the hole tonight,” Hartman added. “We can shoot the basketball and we’re capable of scoring points in a hurry.”
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Two foul shots by Levi Byer gave Riverheads a 9-7 lead in the first quarter before the Wilson full-court pressure started to pay dividends. Four Riverheads turnovers led to a 9-0 Wilson run and a 16-9 Hornets lead.
After two foul shots by Riverheads’ Carter Mooneyham, Aiden Podgorski and Finn Irving knocked down consecutive 3-pointers for a 22-10 Hornets cushion. Mooneyham scored in the waning seconds of the quarter to cut the Wilson advantage to 10 points, 22-12.
Riverheads closed the margin to six, 22-16, early in the second period, but five points by Josh Johnson and five more by Irving put the Hornets up 32-16. Irving, who scored 21 points in the first half, added a 3-pointer and a three-point play to send the Hornets to the locker room with a 40-20 halftime lead.
Wilson expanded its lead to 59-34 at the conclusion of three quarters, but Riverheads refused to fold.
A 12-0 run, sparked by seven points from Ryan Farris, sliced the deficit to 11 points, 63-52, with 2:15 left to play.
After a bucket by Wilson’s Max Vess, Farris and Tye Morris added field goals to cut the margin to single digits, 65-56, with 51 seconds remaining. Farris scored eight points in the final 35 seconds before time ran out on the Gladiators and Wilson left Greenville with the 69-64 victory.
“Give Riverheads credit. PW (Weller) has those guys playing hard. They’re a tough scrappy team and you know they’re not going to give up,” Hartman said. “Riverheads has a bunch of guys who are going to play hard all the time.”
All 11 players who saw action for the Hornets broke into the scoring column. Irving was the lone player in double figures with 31 points. Johnson and Ethan Briseno each finished with eight points.
Farris poured in 20 points in the fourth quarter and finished the game with 30 points to lead Riverheads. Bennett Dunlap scored 11 points and Morris added 10.
WILSON MEMORIAL 69, RIVERHEADS 64
WILSON 22 18 19 10 — 69
RIVERHEADS 12 8 14 30 — 64
WILSON (69) — Briseno 3 0-1 8, Schatz 0 2-4 2, F. Irving 9 9-10 31, Vess 3 0-0 6, Podgorski 1 0-0 3, Johnson 3 0-1 8, Mundie 1 1-2 3, Wright 1 0-0 2, Lavender 1 0-0 2, Harman 1 0-0 2, E. Irving 1 0-0 2, TOTALS 24 12-18 69.
RIVERHEADS (64) — Farris 12 2-2 30, Dunlap 4 0-0 11, Byer 1 4-4 6, Mooneyham 1 6-6 8, Morris 5 0-0 10, Milo, Lightner, Williams, TOTALS 23 12-12 64.