Jefferson — In a battle of one loss teams, the Jefferson Lions played host to the Riverdale Mavericks from Portland on Thursday night. The Lions entered the match coming fresh off a road win against Eddyville Charter on Tuesday, while Riverdale put the hammer down on Chemawa 70-42 on Tuesday as well. After a sloppy first half that featured double digit turnovers, the Mavericks settled down in the second half and buckled up for a comeback, completing it after holding off a late Jefferson run.
Jefferson drew first blood with a Diego Rodriguez free throw to take a 1-0 lead, and after falling behind 6-3 early, the Lions went on an 8-0 run to take the lead 11-6. The teams would trade punches the rest of the way in the opening quarter, with Jefferson leading 16-10 over Riverdale.
The Mavericks fought back to start the second quarter, as Riverdale traded baskets before ripping off an 8-0 run to take the lead 20-18 over Jefferson, their first lead since the opening minutes of the first quarter. Holding a 25-22 lead, the Mavericks became sloppy offensively, allowing Jefferson to rip off their own 8-0 run to retake the lead 30-25 late in the first half. With time running out in the half, Jefferson’s DJ Krider hit a buzzer-beating layup to send the Lions into the half with a 32-27 lead. Jefferson’s Diego Rodriguez led all scorers with 10 points in the opening half, while Riverdale’s Justin Grimes led the Mavericks with eight points.
Riverdale came out of the locker room and punched Jefferson in the mouth, as Ethan Hill drilled a trey and Issac Abrams hit a bucket to knot it up at 32 apiece. After Krider retook the lead with a trey, the Mavericks ripped their second 8-0 run of the match and took the lead 40-35 in the third. Jefferson would close back within 45-44 late in the quarter, but Riverdale held the lead 49-44 after three quarters at Jefferson.
The Lions opened the fourth trading buckets before going on a 7-0 run to retake the lead 51-49. However, Riverdale went on an 11-0 run to take a 60-51 advantage halfway through the final frame. Trailing 64-57, Diego Aguilar began the Lions comeback attempt with a trey to make it 64-60, and was followed up by Leon Romo Jr’s trey made it 64-63, but the Mavericks hit a pair of clutch free throws and played keep away the last ten seconds of the match to complete the comeback victory 66-63 over Jefferson.
After the completed comeback, Riverdale’s Issac Abrams and Jackson Grimes talked about the match and prepping for conference play.
Issac Abrams on the halftime offensive adjustments, “We didn’t start with the intensity that we needed to, and our coach made some big changes at the half at our point guard and shooting guard. Oliver (Nielsen) and Jackson (Grimes) really kept us comfortable in the press and then we came out aggressive to take the lead in the third quarter. They made a run at the end, but we held them off with resilience, we’re a tough team and we show it every game.”
Jackson Grimes on the halftime defensive adjustments, “The biggest thing was playing with intensity. From my point of view, we were laxed on defense in the first half, allowing almost anything to the basket especially #22 (Diego Rodriguez). Also coming out aggressive, especially blocking shots, and with the refs not calling a lot of fouls we knew we could come out more physical in the second half.”
Issac Abrams on Riverdale’s biggest things to improve upon, “We need to start the beginning of the game with the intensity we need the entire time. We sometimes start off slow in the first half, and after the halftime pep talk, then we come back out strong. If we can do that in the first quarter, then its better at beating opponents.”
Jackson Grimes on Riverdale’s biggest strengths, “For our size, we’re rebounding really well, especially Dillon (Wendle), he’s a sophomore who came into this year with one goal which was to rebound. Oliver (Nielsen) has also been getting a lot of boards, so we’re playing really well with switch ball, players playing different positions and being versatile.”
Riverdale (4-1) travels to Valley Catholic on Tuesday, Jefferson (2-2) goes to Scio on Tuesday.