Riverview boys basketball rolls past Valley in opener behind Jack Loughren’s 18 points

Friday, December 1, 2023 | 8:03 PM

Jack Loughren missed all of last year’s basketball season with a leg injury.

The Riverview senior guard felt good in his return to game action Friday at the Freeport Tip-Off at Freeport Middle School.

Loughren scored 18 points and added eight rebounds to help pace a balanced effort as the Raiders rolled past Valley, 72-26.

“Physically and emotionally, I felt really good. I am blessed to be out here after that injury,” said Loughren, who scored eight points in the first half and 10 more over the final 16 minutes.

“Everybody contributed, and we couldn’t have done what we did without all the hard work we put in. I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did without my teammates. We deserved this win. A big thing for us this year is going to be our effort and how much intensity we bring to other teams.”

Senior Nathan Sprajcar, Riverview’s lone returning starter, led all scorers with 19 points and added 10 rebounds.

Alex Schultheis and Rio Stotts had 12 and 10 points, respectively.

“It was a pretty positive start for the guys,” Raiders coach Phil McGivney said.

“It’s only game one, so there are still things to work on from our standpoint. But there also are a lot of good things to build on from both the offensive and defensive ends. Our balance was nice to see.”

Riverview will return to the court at Freeport Middle School on Saturday at noon against Shady Side Academy.

Valley, which got a team-best eight points from Keyziyah Clay, will play at 3 p.m. against tournament host Freeport.

Riverview used strong rebounding with its height along with quickness and defense to build a 35-16 lead at halftime.

Valley produced a 7-4 run to begin the second quarter, cutting the deficit to 20-14. But the Raiders closed the half with a 15-2 run.

The Vikings struggled to get into a flow offensively with 16 turnovers in the first half. They finished with 24 giveaways overall.

Riverview’s 19-point advantage at the break swelled to beyond 30 in the third quarter, and it put the mercy rule running clock into effect.

Mickael Allen and Jake Staraniec added six points each for Valley.

First-year Vikings coach Ed Jenkins was under the weather and was not able to coach his team Friday. Assistant Justice Evans served as acting head coach.

“There’s always some good and some not-so-good in a first game,” Evans said.

“We have to work on breaking the press, our sets against zones and just taking care of the basketball. They got a lot of points off turnovers. We took a lot of good shots, but we just didn’t hit them. We had some other good looks. We’ll come back (Saturday) and hope to get better.”

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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