Beavers resist preppers’ offers of return – News-Herald

Riverside quickly took the lead against University on December 11 in a non-conference clash. However, the 11-point lead was the biggest the Beavers had seen in the competition, as the Preppers’ constant runs kept the game close at hand.

The University reduced the lead to four with two minutes to half time, but a pair of Charlie Fox 3s gave Riverside a 10 point lead. The Preppers reduced the lead to a few possessions once again in the fourth, including an 8-4 start in the final quarter.

However, another pair of 3s, this time from Jake Elly, ended any hope of a comeback for the University as Riverside came off with a 71-61 victory. The Beavers are now 2-0 this season, as University fell to 1-4.

As they started off strong, Riverside kept the Preppers a single-digit lead, and coach Matt Grendel knew Riverside faced that challenge. As they were more athletic, the Beavers had to rise to the challenge and play a solid defense against the size of the Preppers.

“We knew we wanted to get transition opportunities before their defense could throw or kick and move the defense to open up lanes to lead again,” said Grendel. “We wanted to take their bigs out of the basket so that we could narrow down our guys’ opportunities without the big guys there.”

One of the Beavers ‘biggest challenges was trying to stop the Preppers’ big man, Ethan Nowak. Not only was he a threat at the lowest with six rebounds, but he also made three 3s and finished with 20 points.

But Riverside’s attack proved too heavy for the University. Fox (21) and Elly (11) were joined by double-digit Andrew Taggert (15) and Wyatt Young (12). Elly hit two 3 corners, the last of which came with the Beavers trying to run out of time.

“I knew the first one was important to extend the lead,” Elly said. “I knew there was about a minute and a half to go until the second one, and I knew that would make the deficit too big for them to fill with the time left, so I increased it.”

Fox added, “At the end of the day we were trying to keep the ball. I had it upstairs, and the kid wasn’t coming towards me so I kept holding him and we spun him around, and they left Jake open. If Jake is open then I want him to shoot every time because I know he’s going to hit that shot and extend that lead.

Although he managed to keep the game tight for the duration, it was not enough for the University to secure the victory. After the Preppers suffered a heavy loss, coach Sean McDonnell was happy with the fight his team led and kept the game close rather than letting it get out of hand.

“I’m happy with the way we played,” McDonnell said. “Riverside are a very good team and played well. We took their punch and their counter punch and hung on. I was proud of our guys who managed to boil down to a two-player game or a possession multiple times. We are playing with fire and we need things to go perfectly if we are to be victorious. “

Ryan Sleeth (14) and Justin Belcher (12) joined Nowak in double digits. Riverside opens the Western Reserve Conference game on December 11 when he faces North and tries to extend his record to 3-0. The University are looking to come out of their two-game slippage when they face Strongsville on December 22.

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