The Riverside Military Academy basketball team nearly overcame a 10-point fourth quarter deficit Friday evening against Hebron Christian, but poor free throw shooting and mental errors doomed the Eagles late in a 55-53 loss. Riverside Military went just 5 of 18 from the charity stripe on the night, missing 11 in the final frame and nine in a row during a critical stretch that hampered the team’s comeback effort.
“We just didn’t do the things we needed to do to win,” Eagles coach Marvin Latham said. “When you don’t do the things you need to win, the outcome usually isn’t in your favor.”
Hebron Christian’s Sam Hutto hit on back-to-back 3s early in the fourth quarter to put the Lions on top 49-39, but Riverside Military’s defense stepped up from there, shutting Hebron Christian out for the next four minutes of game time. The Eagles (8-8, 4-2 Region 8-A) used a 7-0 run from that point to get back into contention, but went just 1 of 10 from the free throw line on six trips to the stripe during the span.
Eagles forward Arrington Page knocked down a corner 3 with eight seconds left to get Riverside Military within a point of the lead, but an Areeb Ahmad shot from the other corner at the buzzer on the following possession went just a little bit long to close things out.
“Our kids are going to play hard,” Latham said. “We just need to stop making so many mistakes and hope for the better outcome next time.”
It was a defeat that built up gradually over the course of the night, with the Eagles actually starting off as the hotter side. Page and Philemon Nwosu started things off with 6 quick points in the post, and Riverside Military rode an 8-3 beginning to the contest to a 4-point lead eight minutes in.
Bryce Klacynski heated up in the second frame, scoring 6 points to keep the Eagles ahead for much of the period. But the Lions scored the last 6 points before the half to even things up at 25 going into the break.
Riverside Military got the quicker start again coming out of halftime, but Hutto caught fire toward the end of the third quarter, hitting on a trio of 3s in the last two and a half minutes of the period to give Hebron Christian the lead for good.
The loss is Riverside Military’s second straight, and Latham said the team is still getting back into the swing of things following the holiday break. He’s said he’s hoping for a full turnaround when the Eagles take on Creekside Christian on Tuesday.
“That’s the good thing about basketball,” Latham said. “You always play again pretty quick.”