High School Sports

Offensive explosion carries River Ridge boys past Centralia, 72-65

toverman@theolympian.com

River Ridge’s boys basketball team can put up points in a hurry, but this was ridiculous even by their standards.

Centralia’s Deter Voetberg had just tied up the contest with a 3-pointer in the third quarter. The Tigers’ celebration with short-lived, however, as a mere 45 seconds later the Hawks were back up by double digits.

That’s fast. That’s River Ridge basketball this season.

LaBrandon Price scored 20 points, Issiah Scott added 15 and the Hawks turned away Centralia, 72-65, on Tuesday during the opening day of the North Thurston Holiday Tournament.

“This is a very emotional team. They have an emotional coach and they are emotional players,” River Ridge coach John Barbee said. “They just feed off each other’s emotions out there, and I think that’s what we saw in stretches tonight.”

Jaden White also scored 11 points for the Hawks, who improved to 7-1. River Ridge plays Tumwater at 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday. The two teams played an overtime thriller at last year’s tournament, with the Thunderbirds posting a 69-65 victory.

It was the second meeting this month between the Hawks (6-6) and Tigers, and it was a different game than the Dec. 2 meeting when River Ridge romped, 86-45.

Centralia’s Christian Peters did not play in the first meeting and proved to be a difference maker in the rematch, scoring 16 points.

Voetberg led Centralia with 17 points; teammate Nolan Wasson scored 15.

The Tigers led by four with six minutes to play and held a 65-63 advantage with three minutes remaining, but did not score again as the Hawks closed the game on a 9-0 run.

“There was a lot of energy out there tonight from both teams,” Barbee said. “It’s always tough to beat a team twice in season. I thought Centralia played hard and were disciplined.”

A Price bucket tied the game at 65 with 2:45 remaining and Scott hit back-to-back field goals on the Hawks’ next two possessions to extend River Ridge’s lead.

The ending was similar to a brief run in that third quarter where the Hawks forced five consecutive turnovers and scored 10 points in 45 seconds, turning a 33-33 tie into a 43-33 lead.

The run contributed to a 30-point third quarter for River Ridge.

A breakneck pace to start the contest failed to generate many points for either squad. Centralia grabbed an 11-9 advantage late in the first quarter before River Ridge used a 14-2 run to reclaim the lead.

A Wasson 3-pointer ended the first half, but the Hawks led 27-25 at the break after getting 10 points from Price.

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