Riverside Military Academy’s two sizeable leads in the first half were wiped away in a matter of minutes Friday against Dawson County, but a late fourth quarter run was timed just perfectly for the Eagles to secure a 47-39 win.
After both teams stalled at 32-32 for the first three minutes of the final quarter at Curtis Hall, Dylen Setzekorn hit a 3-pointer for the Eagles (8-3) that set a 10-2 run into motion over the next three minutes.
“That’s the key for our team when we get the lead is to finish, finish, finish,” Eagles coach Rico Zackery said.
Following a Dawson County (14-4, 1-1 Region 8A-AA) basket, Tarvin Dukes followed with a Riverside layup and Richard Tribble hit a 3-pointer from the corner to give the Eagles a 40-34 lead. Setzekorn added the final basket of the fourth-quarter run with a drive in the lane for a layup, pushing the lead to 42-34.
“Our effort is there as a team, but we just didn’t have anyone that could physically match up with Riverside’s players,” Dawson County coach Thad Burgess said. “I’m disappointed that we had a chance to win it there in the fourth quarter and just couldn’t make our shots.
“But it is still early in the season and we just have to get better from this.”
Riverside’s leading scorer was Tribble with a game-high 20 points, including a 3-pointer during the Eagles’ fourth-quarter run. Setzekorn finished with 10 for Riverside.
Not only did Tribble aid in the fourth-quarter run, he was also behind the scoring each time Riverside took a first-half lead. Tied 4-4 in the first quarter, he hit his first 3-pointer of the game to give the Eagles a 7-4 advantage. Later in the first, he knocked down back-to-back jump shots, giving the Eagles a 13-4 lead.
Dawson County’s Levi Wilson (six points) helped wash away Riverside’s early lead with a pair of early 3-pointers in the second to get within a point. Stephen Scaife then hit a basket to give the Tigers a temporary lead, 18-17.
After Riverside took a 25-19 lead into halftime, a turnaround jump shot by Brandon McKinney three minutes into the third quarter gave the Eagles a 28-24 lead, Dawson County rallied back behind back-to-back 3-pointers by Stephen Johnson late in the third to take a 32-30 lead.
Johnson (13 points) and Scaife (11) were the Tigers’ leading scorers. Defensively, the Eagles held Dawson County’s Jacob Evans to a single point after he scored 27 on Tuesday night against Union County.
“Our only focus in practice is playing defense, because we know we have guys that are going to be able to score,” Zackery said.
Riverside Military plays host to Banks County at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Gainesville. Dawson County visits Rabun County at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Tiger.