Riley Controls Tempo, Cruises to Second Straight Victory to Open Season
December 2nd, 2016
By Korbett Koselak-Riley High School Senior
SOUTH BEND – South Bend Riley’s conference slate begins rather early this season, as they host St. Joe on Tuesday to open NIC play. It could have been easy for Riley to look past Friday’s matchup with the (0-3) Northridge Raiders. The always spoken of, yet never expected “trap game,” potential was certainly in the building on Friday. The hundreds of fans that made the 45 minute trip from Middlebury to support their Northridge Raiders certainly felt the upset juices flowing.
“Fear nobody, but respect everybody.” Moved from Coach Mark Johnson’s lips to the ears of the players throughout the week in practice. Focus on this game, this moment. The Riley Wildcats struggles in the game Tuesday against Michigan City would be amplified if they were to not dominate their far inferior opponents on Friday.
Northridge would lead most of the first quarter and be down by just two at the beginning of the second. A few minutes into the second quarter with the game still tight, lightning struck. Lighting in the form of Senior Point Guard Junior Scott. Scott hit three-pointers on three consecutive Wildcat possessions and a once miniscule lead for Riley had grown to double-digits. The team high 22 points would belong to Junior Forward Damezi Anderson as the Northridge Raiders would never narrow the gap and the Riley Wildcats cruised rather easily to an 83-58 victory.
“I just caught the flow of the game. Teammates found me.” Scott said of catching fire early in the second half, “I just knocked down the shots, that’s what I’m supposed to do,” he continued. Scott would finish with 15 points in the contest.
“Well, he’s a pretty good player,” Coach Mark Johnson said of his Senior Point Guard, “He didn’t force it and he took what he was given,” Johnson continued. On Riley’s ability to control the tempo of the ballgame Coach Johnson stated, “I thought tonight we were able to dictate the tempo through our defense.” “We got a win, we got better defensively, and we’re happy. Coach is smiling now!” he would finish.
This is the eighth time in Johnson’s 15 years at Riley, his basketball team has begun 2-0. Only twice before have they improved to 3-0, and only once before have they won their first four contests of the season. The 4-0 start, occurred one year ago. Looking for his third 3-0 start at Riley High School, Johnson’s Wildcats will take on the St. Joseph Indians at Riley on Tuesday. Final from South Bend, Indiana, South Bend Riley 83, Northridge 58.