Dillard Leads Riley to First 8-0 Record in 27 Years
December 20th, 2016
By Korbett Koselak-Riley High School Senior
SOUTH BEND – (8-0) 2-0 (NIC) South Bend Riley defeated (5-3) 0-1 (NLC) Plymouth 78-61 last night in their final contest of the 2016 calendar year. A very busy year in the world of Riley basketball. The Wildcats finished 2016 at 20-3, with their 3 losses coming by 3 (at Marian on January 15th), by 3 (vs. Washington on February 9th), and by 5 in double overtime (at Regionals vs. Warsaw on March 12th). Riley would see all-time leading scorer Reontre Lawrence graduate, Coach Mark Johnson would enter his 15th season at the helm, and the South Bend Riley Wildcats would start 8-0 for the first time since Ronald Reagan was in office.
It was certainly a game of momentum on Tuesday as the Wildcats knocked off the Pilgrims. Down 25-19 with five minutes remaining in the first half, an 11-0 run carried the Wildcats into the locker room up 5.
A 14 point third quarter lead for Riley would be cut to just two with a minute to go in the third. The Cats quickly jumped back out to a double digit lead en route to a 78-61 victory, their 8th of the season and their 6th by double-digits. All five Wildcat starters reached double-digits and for the first time this year Damezi Anderson did not lead the team in scoring. Junior Forward Shamar Dillard led the way with 20 points.
The last time the South Bend Riley Wildcats boys basketball team was 8-0 was the 1989-90 season. Your NBA MVP, Magic Johnson. Minnesota was in the Final Four and the Detroit Pistons swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. The Riley Wildcats we’re 8-0.
That 89-90 campaign ended in a semi-state loss to Northfield. For many on the South Side and all the Riley faithful, hopefully this season has a different ending. Looking to improve to 9-0, the Wildcats host the Bremen Lions on Tuesday, January 3rd.