NEW MATAMORAS - The River Pilots erupted for 22 second-quarter points and went on to handily defeat the host Frontier Cougars 72-39 in a Pioneer Valley Conference season opener for both schools Saturday night.
Frontier trailed by just three points with a little less than three minutes to play in the first half, but a 9-0 half-ending Pilot run spelled doom for the Cougars.
"They hit a couple of shots in a row at the end of the half and turned a three-point lead into 12," said Cougar head coach Roger Kirkpatrick. "We are just not a high-scoring team and could just never make it back up."
The Cougars jumped out to an early lead, largely due to a strong opening quarter from Drew Schneider.
The junior guard scored eight points in the first to spark Frontier to a 14-13 lead.
River came out ice cold in the opening quarter, connecting on just six-of-18 shots from the field, but a 7-0 run to start the second quarter gave the Pilots a 20-14 lead.
River 72 Frontier 39
River 13 22 19 18 72
Frontier 14 9 10 6 39
Matt Marconi 0-5 2-2 2, Chad Islay 3-10 1-2 9, Eric Dierkes 3-4 0-0 6, Kam Brown 3-5 1-2 7, Jacob Indermuhle 6-14 2-4 14, Cody Caldwell 3-9 0-0 7, Brett Price 7-16 7-10 24, Evan Eggleston 1-1 1-2 3. Totals: 26-64 14-22 72.
Drew Schneider 6-11 6-10 21, Jay Eddy 0-3 0-0 0, Jordan Jefferson 1-5 2-3 4, Eddie Salazar 2-5 0-0 4, Levi Cochran 0-3 0-0 0, Dusty Wright 0-1 0-0 0, Cole Farley 0-2 1-2 1, Taylor Merckle 1-7 0-2 2, Josh Kirkbride 2-3 0-0 4, Dylan O'Neal 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 13-43 9-17 39.
Team Totals: Shooting: R: 26-64 (40.6%) F: 13-43 (30.2%) Three Point Shooting: R: 6-17 (35.2%) (Price 3, Islay 2, Caldwell 1). F: 4-13 (30.7%) (Schneider 3, Salazar 1). Rebounds: R: 45 (Indermuhle 11, Caldwell 9). F: 20 (Farley 5, O'Neal 4, Merckle 4). Assists: R: 11 (Islay 3). F: 6 (Farley 2). Turnovers: R: 11, F: 18. Team Fouls: R:14, F: 18.
Next Game: Frontier, Tuesday at Caldwell.
Junior Varsity Game
Frontier 52 River 41
Frontier scoring: Nick Camino 18, Damon Matheny 10, Rodney Barnes 9, Jacob Bradford 6, Ty Cobb 6, Brandon Larson 2, Tristan Cline 1.
Schneider continued his hot start with a three-pointer followed by a 10-foot jumper to draw the Cougars back to within a single point at 20-19.
"Drew is a hard worker and just keeps getting better and better," said Kirkpatrick of Schneider. "He shot the ball really well for us tonight."
Baskets by Evan Eggleston and Chad Islay pushed the Pilot lead back out to six, but once again it was Schneider who connected from long range to trim the lead to 26-23.
River standout Brett Price had been quiet for most of the first half, but the Pilot guard drilled a three-pointer, sandwiched around four consecutive free throws and when Eric Dierkes scored on a put back, the Pilots suddenly possessed 35-23 lead at intermission.
The momentum that the Pilots had gained to close the first half, carried right over to the second as River strung together a 17-6 run to begin the quarter.
Frontier got field goals by Josh Kirkbride and Dylan O'Neal late in the third, but a Jacob Indermuhle bucket to end the quarter gave the Pilots a commanding 54-33 lead.
River completely dominated the boards as the Pilots hauled down 45 rebounds in the game compared to just 20 for Frontier. "They are a very strong team inside," said Kirkpatrick, who is in his 19th season as Frontier head coach. "Against bigger stronger teams we seem to struggle,".
The Pilots blew things wide open to start the fourth quarter with a 13-2 run to put things away for good.
Price led all scorers with 24 points, while Indermuhle contributed a double-double with 14 points and 11 boards.
Schneider led the Cougars with 21 points, including three from behind the arc. Despite the big loss, Kirkpatrick saw a lot of positives that his team can build upon.
"We'll get right back to work on Monday," said Kirkpatrick. "If we can play an entire game with the intensity that we played with in the first quarter we will be alright."
The Cougars are scheduled to travel to Caldwell Tuesday night for their first road test against the young Redskins.