Riverview boys look to build on solid foundation

Friday, November 25, 2022 | 4:11 PM

While Phil McGivney’s first year at Riverview didn’t produce a playoff berth for the Raiders boys basketball team, the belief is that the future is bright.

“I thought it was a productive year,” McGivney said of his team that went 6-16 overall and 2-8 in the section. “We were in the playoff race until the last of the season. The seniors that we had last year helped lay the foundation, and the guys that are coming back had a lot of valuable experience.”

Eleven of Riverview’s 22 games were decided by 10 points or less, seven of those losses. The culprit often was missed foul shots.

“Last year, we lost six games where the differential was basically the number of free throws missed,” McGivney said. “If we can improve those little things, we’ll be in a better position.”

Micah Black, the lone graduated starter, scored in double figures.

Returning starters are seniors Ben Hower, Jack Betler, Luke Migley and Amberson Bauer. Junior Nate Sprajcar had some starting assignments late last season and is expected to elevate to a full-time role this season.

Senior John Patsey is also expected to contribute.

“It’s Year Two, and we got a full offseason workout with some high-level participation in grades seven through 12,” McGivney said. “The guys are stepping up from a leadership standpoint this year. Where last year the practices very much coaches-led, this year, we’re having players-led practices.”

The second year with a coaching staff is easier for the players.

“Last year, we were getting used to the new ideas and the new system,” Betler said. “We’re at a point where we really know the stuff, and we’re really far ahead this year and we’ll be able to attack the season better than last year.”

Riverview again will be in Class 2A for the next two seasons and will face Clairton, Greensburg Central Catholic, Jeannette, Leechburg, Serra Catholic and cross-river rival Springdale.

“Overall, we’re real excited,” Hower said. “We have a whole bunch of experience coming back with guys who had a lot of varsity experience. I think this town’s excited for a good season, and everybody in the school is looking toward a big season.”

In an odd bit of scheduling, Riverview and Springdale play Jan. 3 and Jan. 27, much earlier than the past when the two tangled at the end of each half of the season.

“It’s always something that we look forward to,” Betler said. “Now, we’re playing them earlier and we want to attack the season hard and be ready for them.”

No one at Riverview is shedding any tears that the mega-successful OLSH team has left the section.

Said Migley: “There’s a lot of good competition, but with OLSH out of the section, there’s no reason we can’t win every game and go at every team as hard as we can. We’re using social media to get as many students and parents as we can to hype us up. This town loves basketball.”

Riverview begins its 52nd season Friday at the Freeport Tip-off Tournament, and Sprajcar can’t wait.

“I’m more than excited. We’ve had a few great days of practice,” he said. “Everyone’s just ready to attack the season. The nerves are high at first, but everybody’s ready.”

John Tivo will be the assistant coach.

At a glance

Coach: Phil McGivney

Last year’s record: 6-16 (2-8 in Section 1-2A)

Returning starters: Ben Hower (Sr. F), Jack Betler (Sr. G-F), Luke Migley (Sr. G), Amberson Bauer (Sr. G)

Top newcomers: Nate Sprajcar (Jr. G), John Patsey (Sr. F)


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