Players on the River Ridge High School boys basketball team didn’t even know what their win streak was until coach John Barbee mentioned it.
“I said (Thursday), ‘Hey, I know we are on a big streak and all,’ and they were like, ‘What’s the streak?’ ” Barbee said.
“I was like, ‘Guys, we haven’t lost since Tumwater.’ ”
That was Dec. 30. The Hawks beat Washington two games later, then got a career-high 23 points from junior guard Issiah Scott on Friday to do so again, beating Washington, 63-50, in 2A South Puget Sound League action to push their streak to nine consecutive games.
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River Ridge (14-4, 10-2 2A SPSL) tied the host Patriots (14-4; 10-2) atop the league standings with the win, but it owns the tiebreaker with wins in both meetings.
Both teams have two games left in the regular season before the District 2/3 tournament.
Tory Causey led Washington with 21 points, including 16 in the third quarter. But the Patriots made three baskets total in the fourth and River Ridge began the quarter on a 9-0 run.
“I couldn’t ask for more from my guys,” Washington coach Karl Cordes said. “They played their butts off. It was a tough one. They were playing for a league championship and they laid it on the line. We just came up short.”
And what could the Patriots do about Scott?
River Ridge trailed 12-8 after a sloppy first quarter from both teams. So Plan B: Give Scott the ball, and get him behind the 3-point line.
He scored 14 points in the second quarter and made seven 3-pointers for the game. All but one of Scott’s baskets came from beyond the 3-point arc.
“I’m just thankful,” Scott said. “It’s all I can say. It’s true.”
Said teammate LaBrandon Price: “I knew he was going to come out with this. He was telling me before, ‘I’m ready.’ And I believed him.”
Combine Scott’s shooting stroke with Tommy Hunkin-Clark’s work on the glass (14 rebounds), Kobe Key’s all-around contributions (11 points, seven rebounds, eight assists) and a go-to man in Price (13 points, five rebounds, four assists) and it’s no wonder the Hawks have been on such a roll.
This after starting the season 3-3.
“Everywhere I’ve been, whether it’s at Kennedy (girls), Foster (boys) or (The Evergreen State College men’s team), we’ve always started late,” Barbee said. “Early on we couldn’t get it rolling or couldn’t figure out the combinations. We’ve gone through a lot of starting lineups.
“So it’s a testament to our guys just sticking with it and working hard.”
And players not caught up in win streaks.
“We move on, take it game by game,” Scott said. “The next game is the most important.”
Washington entered the game with a six-game win streak of its own since its 73-64 loss on Jan. 6 at River Ridge. The Patriots had beaten opponents by an average of more than 20 points during the streak.
“I told them, I said, ‘I’m proud of you guys.’ We are still in a position to win the league title,’ ” Cordes said. “We just have to get a little help. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to just take care of it ourselves.”