Resurgent Riverview boys match last year’s win total with victory at St. Joseph tournament

Tuesday, December 27, 2022 | 7:53 PM

In a basketball game that had a baseball player throw a football pass with a basketball that ended up in the rafters, Tuesday’s victory was otherwise significant for the Riverview boys.

The Raiders defeated Indiana, 72-64, in the first round of the St. Joseph Holiday Tournament at Walter Dlubak Center. The victory was the sixth of the season for Riverview — equaling the victory total for all of last year.

That’s nice, but the Raiders (6-2) want more.

“We’re definitely happy about the sixth win, but we’re not satisfied,” said Riverview coach Phil McGivney. “We want to come back here (Wednesday), get another one, pick up the pieces, play hard and take it one game at a time.”

Amberson Bauer led the Raiders with 27 points, 18 coming in the second half. Bauer canned a pair of 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the second half when Riverview outscored the Little Indians, 10-2, to take control of the game.

Nate Sprajcar added 18 points, though he played nearly all the second half with three fouls. Luke Migley chipped in with 14.

“Our scoring is very balanced,” McGivney said. “Throughout the course of the season, we’ve had three, four, one night five scorers in double figures. That’s where we want to go and the way it has to be. We need balance.”

Sprajcar’s traditional three-point play with 4 minutes, 6 seconds left in the game gave the Raiders their biggest lead, 64-54. The Indians cut the lead to 66-62 with 59 seconds left after steals and baskets by Stanford Webb and Gavin Homer.

Indiana is 3-5 with the loss.

“We’re learning how to win,” Little Indians coach Greg Lezanic said. “I’m telling the guys you just don’t go out and win close games. You’ve got to play in close games. It’s like a newborn baby. You just don’t get up and walk. You have to crawl first. We’ve got to play in some close games, and we’re learning how to win close games. We need to make big stops and get a big bucket.”

Riverview was 4 of 4 from the foul line in the final minute of play to preserve the victory.

Homer, the only senior starter, led Indiana with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore Webb had 20, including a trio of 3-pointers in the second quarter.

Said Lezanic: “Gavin hasn’t played for two years. He got hurt his freshman year. He had a nice ballgame, and we’re getting better. We’ve had some tough years. But we hit bottom, and I think we’re starting to build back up.”

With 23.5 seconds left in the game and Indiana showing a full-court press, Enzo Lio, best known as a pitcher for the Raiders, fired a high pass downcourt that instead hit the netting that separates the floor for gym classes. The basketball ended up in the rafters, where it will rest for the foreseeable future.

Sophomore Alex Schultheis led the Raiders with nine rebounds.

The Raiders will play in the tournament final at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday against the winner of Tuesday night’s game between St. Joseph and Valley.

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