River’s Jacob Crawford (40) goes up for a shot against Parry McCluer Monday night in Springwood.
Photo by Ed McCoy

The James River boys will be trying to get the rollercoaster going back in the “up” direction tonight when they play a Three Rivers District basketball game at Floyd County. The Knights followed a five-game winning streak with a four-game losing streak, including a 44-41 loss to Parry McCluer in Springwood Monday night.

The Knights have been playing some of the top Group 1A/2A competition the valley has to offer. They dropped back-to-back games against Glenvar last week, followed by a loss to Radford on Friday night and a loss to Parry McCluer on Monday. Three of the four games were at home.

The lone loss on the road was a 74-57 loss at Glenvar last Wednesday. The Highlanders are always tough at home and it was their second win over River in three days.

“They’re automatic at their place,” said River coach Mike Goad. “We’re probably going to play them again in the tournament if things work out.”

Darious Cheatwood, Jacob Wagner and Luke Harman all had 17 points against Glenvar.

On Friday at home the Knights lost to Radford, 71-50. The Bobcats are 14-4 overall and have one of the top teams in the area, regardless of classification.

“They’re good enough to be in Richmond in March,” said Goad. “I’d be real surprised if they’re not in Richmond.”

Radford is a Group 1A school, so they won’t be competing against River in the post-season. However, next year they’re moving up to 2A to join the Knights.

“They have a young team,” said Goad. “They have a lot of sophomores, so they should be just as good or better next year.”

Cheatwood had 21 against Radford while Harman had nine and Wagner had seven.

On Monday night River went up against an old arch-rival as Parry McCluer came to town. The Blues are also 1A but they’re also good, leading the Pioneer District with a 10-6 overall record. This one went back and forth before the Blues took a 44-41 win, outscoring the Knights 18-14 in the fourth quarter.

“We had some opportunities but we weren’t consistent,” said Goad.

River jumped to a 13-4 lead after one quarter but only scored nine in the second quarter and five in the third.

“I think that’s the first time all year we had back-to-back quarters without double figures,” said Goad. “We had some good shots but couldn’t hit them. When you hold a team to 44 points you should win.”

Cheatwood had 19 points, Wagner had 10 and Harman had seven.

The four losses dropped River under .500 at 8-10 for the season. After tonight’s trip to Floyd the Knights will be at Auburn Friday, then finish up the regular season with a game at Radford Monday.

“We’re not in a good flow right now,” said Goad. “We have to get better at this time of year.”