The James River boys are home tonight as they entertain Alleghany in a Three Rivers District basketball game. The Knights are 1-6 in district games after opening the week with a loss at Floyd County Monday night.
Although River lost Monday’s game, the 55-45 final score was a huge improvement over the first meeting when Floyd won 76-26 in Springwood. On Monday the Knights were as close as seven points with four minutes remaining in the game.
“I thought our care factor was the highest it had been all year,” said River coach Ethan Humphries. “We had guys taking charges, we were valuing the ball, and everyone was leading on the court. Floyd is likely to make it back to the state-semis again this year so we knew going in we’d have to win the care factor to compete. I think our guys are starting to figure out how hard you have to play to even have a chance at the varsity level.”
Mark Voight led the Knights with a dozen points and Kody Park had 11.
Last week, River split two district games, both at home. The Knights lost to Glenvar on Thursday but bounced back to beat Patrick County on Saturday for their first district win.
The Knights trailed Glenvar by just two points at the half, 25-23, and just six after three quarters, 40-34, before the Highlanders finished strong for a 67-45 win. The Knights had a season-high 29 turnovers and that was a big factor in the game.
Matthew Alderson led River with 13 points and seven boards in one of his best games of the season. Trey Taylor and Maddox Pichay had nine points each.
“Our guys gave the amount of fight and toughness required against Glenvar, but when we turned it over at the rate we did, it was mathematically impossible to win,” said Humphries. “Regardless of the score, I thought our guys represented the toughness we want to be known for on the defensive end. Alderson played about as hard as one could possibly play and it was a joy to watch him empty the tank.”
On Saturday the Knights were back home to host Patrick County and took a 62-53 win. River led throughout the entire game and was up 27-15 at halftime and 40-29 after three quarters, scoring at the buzzer to end the first, second and third quarters.
“Patrick was a big game for us and our guys showed up ready to compete,” said Humphries. “Whether we made shots or we didn’t, we knew the prerequisite was the fight we’d have to bring. To lead from start to finish the first time all year showed some growth upon our group. We had guys doing things they weren’t a month ago, and it’s encouraging to see.”
Taylor had a game-high 31 points, hitting eight of 12 field goals attempts, including four of five from behind the arc. Voight had 12 points, five rebounds and a couple steals.
River is now 4-13 overall. After tonight’s home game with Alleghany the Knights will be at Carroll County on Friday for a Three Rivers District game.