Is second-ranked River Ridge a Class 2A state-championship caliber team?
“I don’t have one (yet), so I don’t know what that looks like,” fourth-year coach John Barbee joked.
Well, this season’s Hawks are one step closer to becoming one.
River Ridge (15-1, 11-0) clinched a league title on the road Tuesday night with a 92-55 walloping of Steilacoom.
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Jaden White — who scored 13 points — gave the Hawks a 6-4 lead with 5 minutes, 35 seconds remaining in the first quarter, and that’s all it took.
River Ridge shot 9 of 15 (60 percent) from the floor in the first quarter to jump out to an early 19-12 lead it only built upon.
Much in the same way it has all season.
“It’s a tough league,” Barbee said. “Our top four or five teams are really good. It’s a great job by these guys, they’ve jumped out on people.”
The Hawks held Steilacoom to eight field goals in the first half, and carried a 15-point lead into the break.
“We just didn’t let up after that,” River Ridge forward LaBrandon Price said.
Price and Mac Armstrong scored a game-high 19 points apiece.
Price pulled up for a jumper from behind the foul line with 4:56 to go in the final period to extend the margin to 30. Steilacoom, which never led, did not get any closer.
But was it the perfect game Barbee said the Hawks have been searching for?
“Oh, I don’t know, I think we’re a long way away from a standpoint of we can do a better job taking care of the basketball,” he said. “I think Steilacoom is super athletic and causes problems, but just the mental lapses.”
Which is what Barbee said will be the focus point for the remainder of the regular season.
River Ridge closes out league play by hosting Washington (6-11, 5-6) and traveling to Clover Park (11-5, 6-4) before Orting (2-14, 0-10) visits for the final game of the regular season.
“We’re going to continue to work, we’re going to continue to preach about getting better,” Barbee said. “We want to play for another month. The goal is we’ve got to get better in practice, and that starts tomorrow.”
Put more simply.
“We’ve just got to keep winning,” Price said.
River Ridge 19 25 25 23_92
Steilacoom 12 17 11 15_55
RR: Price 19, Coleman 2, Dorfner 12, Key 9, Armstron 19, White 13, Sanders 4, Scott 14
S: McCray-Jackson 6, Thomas 9 Overgaard 5, Able 6, M. Hampton 5, Beauschane 10, Enis-Carter 6, Wilson 2, Harris 3, Smith 3