Columbia Star

Vikings’ frontcourt sinks RNE




Spring Valley’s CJ Rich soars in for a layup as Richland Northeast’s Zackery Watkins, Jaylen Tillman, and Marques Smith Jr. defend.

Spring Valley’s CJ Rich soars in for a layup as Richland Northeast’s Zackery Watkins, Jaylen Tillman, and Marques Smith Jr. defend.

Find these pictures and many more here!

Spring Valley guards Jordan Burgess and CJ Rich accounted for a little over half of the Vikings’ points in a hard-fought 53-49 win over the visiting Richland Northeast Cavaliers Thursday, December 15.

“They’ve been steady all year long,” Spring Valley head coach Cypheus Bunton said of his frontcourt duo. “It’s good to have two point guards out there at the same time to help us with ball handling and when teams are trying to press us.”

Burgess finished with 14 points, and Rich added 13.

The Vikings needed everything they could get from those two as Richland Northeast got a monumental effort from Justice Johnson who had a game-high 20 points to go with 12 rebounds and four steals. Johnson had six of the Cavaliers’ 12 first quarter points, and then he added a steal and a fast break layup before getting a big block down low to help Richland Northeast build a 19-14 lead midway through the second quarter.

Spring Valley fought back with an 8-0 run getting a 3-pointer from Burgess, three points from Rich, and a couple of free throws from Justin Skelton. Rich closed the half with five points, and Caleb Temoney added a 3-pointer for the Vikings. The Cavaliers countered with free throws from Jaylen Tillman and Cameron Copeland along with a drive from Marques Smith Jr. to trail 27-24 at the break.

Richland Northeast’s Justice Johnson shoots over Spring Valley’s Andrew Cole.

Richland Northeast’s Justice Johnson shoots over Spring Valley’s Andrew Cole.

Burgess caught fire to start the second half hitting two 3-pointers and a couple of free throws. Andrew Cole chipped in five points including a steal of a Cavalier inbounds pass he converted into a quick layup to close the quarter and give Spring Valley a 42-33 lead. Richland Northeast stayed within striking distance with five points from Justice and layups from Smith Jr. and Damarcus Haliburton.

The Viking lead grew to 14 to start the fourth as Burgess sank another 3-pointer, Keshaun Dawson got a steal and a layup, and Rich hit a stop-and-pop jumper. The Cavaliers fought back with a follow from Tillman, a conventional three-point play from Justice, and a layup from Zackery Watkins to cut the deficit in half. Rich and Justice traded baskets, and then Dawson hit a couple of free throws to cut the Spring Valley lead to 51-46 with 1:46 remaining.

After the Vikings missed the first part of a one-and-one, Smith Jr. was fouled in the process of making a coast-to-coast layup. He sank the ensuing free throw to get Richland Northeast within two with 22.4 seconds to play. Rich responded by making two free throws to set the Spring Valley lead at 53-49 with 19.1 seconds to play.

The Cavaliers were able to force a highly contested shot that bounced off the rim, and then Spring Valley’s Kendall Williams blocked Richland Northeast’s final effort to seal the win.

“We showed some resilience,” Bunton said. “We fought. Of course, RNE’s going to play hard til the end. We expected that. We knew that—especially coming in at halftime. We told them that team’s not going to quit. They’re very well coached, and we’ve just got to continue to fight and claw and bite and claw and do what we’ve got to do to try and get a win.”

The Vikings’ other scorers included Skelton and Andrew Cole with eight each, Temoney with five, Dawson with three, and Williams with two.

Richland Northeast got nine from Smith Jr., eight from Tillman, four each from Copeland and Watkins, and two each from Trey Ard and Haliburton.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.