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River Ridge boys take care of Shullsburg, Pecatonica with wins

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Drake Barribeau goes up off the glass for the Timberwolves. (A.J. Gates/Grant County Herald Independent)

River Ridge players Brandon Davis, Brady Bunge, and Andrew Nies surround the Pecatonica ball handler. The Timberwolves defeated the Vikings 69-46 in a Six Rivers Conference crossover game. (A.J. Gates/Grant County Herald Independent)

River Ridge senior Matthew Nies tries to knock the ball away from the Pecatonica player. (A.J. Gates/Grant County Herald Independent)

By A.J. Gates

 

Coach Jim Wagner and his River Ridge boys basketball team remain in the hunt for this seasons Six Rivers West conference title, as they improved to 7-2 in league play with last Tuesday night’s 54-49 victory over visiting Shullsburg.

Following last Tuesday night’s action the Timberwolves remain a half game behind league-leading Potosi (7-1) and a full game ahead of the third-place Miners (6-3).

River Ridge got off to a slow start against their visitors from Shullsburg, trailing the visiting Miners by 10 points five minutes into the first half.

“I thought they came out with more energy than us and beat us up the floor a few times,” said coach Jim Wagner. “I felt we had some good looks early, but the shots just didn’t want to fall. We also had some lazy turnovers that helped them out.”

Once the Timberwolves got settled in, they found their groove on their way to a 32-29 halftime lead, which led to a hard-fought battle in the second half.

With both teams battling foul trouble in the second half, the Timberwolves had their difficulties from the free throw line, making just 3-of-11 in the second half, compared to 9-of-12 in the first.

After making 10-of-29 (34.5 percent) shot attempts in the first half, the Timberwolves were 9-of-20 (45 percent) in the second, and finished the night making 4-of-13 (30.8 percent) from 3-point range.

The T-Wolves pulled down 14 offensive rebounds, which led to 14 second-chance points, and outscored the Miners 26-22 in the paint.

Brandon Davis and Matthew Nies each finished with a team-high 12 points, Davis going 8-of-11 from the free throw line, and Nies scoring eight of his points in the second half. Nies also pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds to go along with a team-high three steals, while Davis had six boards and two assists.

Andrew Nies chipped in nine points, five rebounds and three steals, while Brady Bunge added seven points, followed by Ty Adrian and Carter Copsey with six each.

In their Six Rivers East/West crossover contest against visiting Pecatonica last Friday night, the Timberwolves were in complete control on their way to a 69-46 victory.

Of the seven crossover games, the Six Rivers West won six of them, with Barneveld beating Highland for the East’s only victory.

Against the visiting Vikings, River Ridge scored 36 points off 25 Pecatonica turnovers, while also outscoring their opponent 34-12 in the paint.

“We started off well making our shots from both the inside and out,” said coach Jim Wagner. “I felt our defensive pressure was too much for them and it all created some fast break opportunities for us.”

The Timberwolves were 29-of-66 (43.9 percent) from the field, including 7-of-22 (31.8 percent) from 3-point range. They were 4-of-8 (50 percent) from the free throw line, committed just 10 turnovers and came away with 17 steals.

Brady Bunge scored a team-high 15 points for the T-Wolves, going a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range. Matthew Nies added 13 points to go along with a team-high eight rebounds, while Andrew Nies finished with seven points. Brandon Davis added six points in the win and dished out a team-high nine assists to go along with three steals.

Following this past Monday night’s home game against visiting De Soto, the Timberwolves next travel to Boscobel Friday night for a non-conference contest.

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