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Scoring drought costs Riverside in region loss to Oglethorpe County
0124 Riverside4
Riverside Military’s J.J. McCalston puts up a layup while defended by Oglethorpe County’s Dylan Pulliam on Friday in Gainesville. - photo by Jared Putnam

A scoring drought that lasted more than a quarter and a pair of dynamic brothers from Oglethorpe County were too much for the Riverside Military Academy basketball team to overcome Friday night.

The Patriots rode a game-high 25 points from Austin Hulin to a 59-50 victory against the host Eagles on Friday night. His brother, Isaac Hulin, scored all eight of his points in the final 5 minutes, 30 seconds.

“I’m proud of our young men. They’re fighting. We’re setting that culture where our kids are going to play hard all the time,” Riverside coach Marvin Latham said. “I’m not going to say we’re going to win all our ball games.

“I want people to think when they come to Riverside to play that these guys are going to play hard and it’s going to be a battle, it’s going to be a dogfight to the end.”

Riverside played without senior Avery Cagle, who was on an official football visit to Akron, and Latham said his reserves have to make progress with their skills so there’s not as much drop-off when starters get a break.

Tra Derricotte added 17 points for Oglethorpe County, which halted its eight-game losing streak while handing Riverside its seventh loss in eight games and sweeping the Region 8-AA foes’ season series.

“I told them the biggest thing is this game is a game of attrition,” Patriots coach Tony Derricotte said. “Different teams make runs, but whoever endures to the end will be the one to take care of things.”

Riverside jumped to a 9-2 lead as Griffin Sewell hit a trio of 3-pointers to start the contest. The Eagles then held a 14-4 edge later in the opening quarter and a 22-12 lead early in the second quarter.

That’s when Oglethorpe began a 19-0 run that stretched into the early portion of the third quarter and gave the Patriots a 31-22 lead.

“That changed the tide of the whole game because the guys realized we’re our own worst nemesis,” Tony Derricotte said.

Riverside fought back and pulled within two points on two occasions, the latest coming on a C.J. Howard layup to cut it to 42-40 with 6:05 left. But the beginning of Isaac Hulin’s scoring with a putback and four quick Eagles turnovers allowed the margin to reach 52-41 with 71 seconds remaining.

Isaac Hulin is a freshman JV player who gets just five quarters, and his coach usually saves him for the fourth quarter.

“It’s something magical when him and his brother get in at the same time,” Tony Derricotte said. “You can see both of them light up, and so that gives the other guys something to rally behind.”

A J.J. McCalston layup, two missed free throws by Austin Hulin and Sewell’s fourth trey of the night brought it back to 52-46 with about 50 seconds left. Sewell couldn’t connect a little bit later on a 3-pointer that would have cut it to four.

Oglethorpe County made 21 of its 29 free throws, including a 7-for-12 clip in the final minute. Isaac Hulin connected on all four of his attempts at the charity stripe.

“They did what they had to do down the stretch to win the game. Our kids played hard,” Latham said. “That’s what I tell them all the time: ‘Just play hard, just play hard. Good things are going to happen for you.’ We’re going to get it turned around.”

Riverside went 8 of 16 on free throws, including a 3-for-9 mark in the final quarter.

Howard paced the Eagles with 17 points, with Sewell chipping in 12, McCalston nine and Burns Wiley six.

Riverside (5-11, 1-7 Region 8-AA) hosts Lovett at 2:30 p.m. today while Oglethorpe County (7-13, 2-6) welcomes Glascock County at 3:30 p.m.

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