Riverview boys hoops looks to build on experiences from last season

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Thursday, December 19, 2019 | 5:04 PM


The Riverview boys basketball team is in a familiar position.

Just last year, the Raiders were 4-2 with wins over Trinity Christian, Aquinas Academy, Summit Academy and Propel Braddock Hills. After six games this season, Riverview holds the same record.

The second half of last season’s schedule brought different results than the beginning, though. Riverview finished 7-14 and lost eight of its final nine games. After a summer of offseason workouts, the Raiders believe this season feels a little different than last.

“I think we’re way more confident now, we’re not just winning games, it’s how we’re winning games,” fifth-year Riverview coach Paul Sapotichne said. “We’ve been in control of a number of the games, not by 20 points or anything, but in control by 10 points or eight points the whole game.”

The Raiders should feel confident, too. They have made significant strides over the summer, and they only lost two senior starters. Thanny Black, Gideon Deasy and Nate Black have settled into their roles, and each is averaging double-digits.

Thanny Black leads the team in points, averaging 15.5, and has grabbed almost five rebounds per game.

A year after Deasy set a school record for assists in a season (146), he’s become more aggressive offensively and is scoring almost 15 points per game after averaging seven last season. He also is averaging almost seven assists.

Nate Black also has played a big role in the early parts of his senior year. He’s averaging almost 12 points and four rebounds. The Raiders have come together and finally feel their hard work is starting to pay dividends.

“Last year, we were motivated and stuff, and we wanted to win,” Deasy said. “But this year, we’ve been dedicated, putting in the extra work, the extra hours, heading to different facilities to work on our game and everyone is just working a lot harder this year. We’re feeling the momentum. This season, we’re feeling good.”

Last season didn’t end how they expected. The Raiders were a young team, and Sapotichne felt they were burnt out towards the end of the season. This winter, they feel they can pull on their experiences from a year ago to help them succeed.

“We knew last year that we could be successful, but it kind of went downhill in the second half,” Thanny Black said. “But we are just trying to learn how to maintain success, and I think last year taught us a lot in how we can be better.”

The Raiders are a program on the rise, so don’t be surprised if this is just the start. Sapotichne believes that the future is bright in Oakmont.

“I’ve told people this — and I think we can end up being good this year, we’ll just have to wait and see — but I think this could be the worst team in the next five years,” Sapotichne said. “The ninth-grade team is undefeated, the eighth-grade team is pretty good, the seventh-grade team is pretty good and the sixth graders are pretty good, too. We also have pretty young team this year, as well.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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