LaBrandon Price is a nice kid. Sometimes too nice.
But his left-handed slam dunk off a steal in the fourth quarter — that was just mean.
Price used every bit of his length and athleticism in the second half, finishing with a game-high 20 points — 18 after halftime — as River Ridge rallied from an early double-digit deficit to beat visiting Washington, 73-64, on Tuesday, handing the Patriots their first loss in Class 2A South Puget Sound League play.
“In some of the other games and going in tonight, I’ve been pretty quiet going into the fourth quarter,” Price said. “Coach (John Barbee) told me that I needed to come out, so I came out aggressive.
“We got to get the ‘W,’ so I had to do whatever it took.”
River Ridge took control at the end of the second quarter and into the third. Thayer Murphy scored 12 of his 17 points for River Ridge (6-4, 3-2 2A SPSL) in the third quarter and the Hawks went into the final period clinging to a 50-48 lead after Washington (8-3, 4-1) had jumped ahead by 10 points in the first quarter.
“We’ve been in situations where we have jumped out on a team. There’s a lot of game to play,” Barbee said. “You can’t get caught up in that. You just have to battle back.”
Washington cut the lead to one when River Ridge — and Price — took off. Issiah Scott hit a 3-pointer, then Price got a steal at halfcourt, raced to the hoop from the left side, leapt in stride and dunked over a Washington defender with a single outstretched hand.
“He’s a tough matchup because he’s athletic and long,” Barbee said. “But he’s a really nice kid and I think sometimes he played like it. We tell him, ‘You’re so gifted, let’s put that to use.”
Price hit a pair of free throws the next possession, and Scott got another 3 to go down after that as River Ridge used a 15-3 run, capped by Price’s spinning, throw-behind-his-head layup, to go up 66-54.
“We just didn’t execute down the stretch,” Washington coach Karl Cordes said. “They executed and we didn’t.”
Jaomani Scott and Tory Causey, a transfer from Curtis, finished with 15 points each for Washington, which allowed 43 points in the second half.
“I told the guys that we had an opportunity to put ourselves in the driver’s seat,” Cordes said. “Now we are going to have to battle.”
Said Barbee: “This was a pivotal win. You have to win your home games. We were looking forward to this and it’s going to be a dogfight when we go back up there.”