EASTLAKE—Missed opportunities down the stretch cost North in a 65-58 double overtime loss to visiting Riverside on Friday.
The Rangers, who battled back from a double-digit deficit in the first half, had a chance to put away the game in regulation and again in the first overtime. Despite the setback, North coach Rob Koelling was pleased with the fight he saw in his players.
“I’m not disappointed with these guys at all,” Koelling said. “I’ve been searching and looking for guys to step up and they fought from the first tip to the final buzzer. The energy was there; the passion was there and they had each other’s back out there. They battled and grinded and that’s what we’ve got to do each day at practice and in each game to make strides as a program. When they bring that consistently, some good things are going to happen here.”
Riverside used an 11-2 run to build and early double-digit lead but Brian Skolny hit a 3-pointer midway through the second to pull the Rangers to within two and Riley Cunningham’s 3 and and-one gave the Rangers a 25-22 halftime lead.
The Rangers led by as many as five in the third quarter but the Beavers, behind Andrew Keller’s game-high 23 points, went on an 14-0 run that left them in the lead after three, 37-33.
Cunningham hit another 3 that tied the game at 49-49 with 1:21 left to play. Skolny’s layup gave the Rangers the lead but the Rangers converted just 2-of-4 free throws in the final 17 seconds, leaving Riverside with a chance to tie it.
Jameson Campbell delivered with a game-tying 3 with just four seconds left in regulation.
“When the opportunities present themselves, you’ve got to capitalize,” Koelling said. “At the free throw line, we’ve got to make those count. If it’s buckets to the basket, we’ve got to finish those, which we did a better job tonight. This is a perfect example that every possession counts. You’ve got double overtime and end up losing by seven points. You’ve got to win those possessions.”
The Rangers once again had a chance to put the game away with 15 seconds left in the first overtime period.
Skolny drove to the hoop but was called for an offensive foul.
“I love Brian’s mindset there,” Koelling said. “He’s a grinder and a winner. He was putting the team on his back there and wanted to take it to the basket strong. One play isn’t going to change the game. It was seven-point game so it was possession by possession. The possessions before that, we could have done something better to win that game. It wasn’t just one possession but I love the mindset from him.”
Campbell stepped up again for the Beavers in the second overtime by hitting all seven of his free throw attempts to seal Riverside’s win. He finished with 18 points. Skolny led North with 16 points while Cunningham finished with 14.
Riverside 65, North 58 (2OT)
Riverside (5-7): Keller 23, Campbell 18, Abdussatar 11, Spiesman 8, Mohr 3, Watson 2
North (4-7): Skolny 16, Cunningham 14, Arnold 9, Liddington, Cantrell 5, Broja 5
Riverside 16 6 15 15 2 11 — 65
North 8 17 8 19 2 4 — 58
Free throws: Riverside 26 of 31, North 15 of 23; 3-pointers: Riverside 3 (Spiesman, Campbell, Mohr), North 3 (Arnold, Cunningham, Liddington).