Despite opening loss, Black River hoops glad to be back!
The Black River High School boys' basketball team started their season last Friday night with a 68-51 loss at Bellows Falls Union High School. However, that was not the most important aspect of this night for the Presidents, as this team was simply happy to be back on the court again.
You see, Black River High School did not put a boys' team on the hardwood last season because of overall low numbers, so the simple fact that they are back on the court again and competing is a great accomplishment. However, make no mistake that the Presidents came to play and for a half, had the Terriers on the run.
Ironically, the Terriers had been going through an identity crisis themselves of sorts, having gone the entire season last year without a win and going back to the season before, had lost 23 straight games and were also desperate for a win. "We don't have a lot of depth with only eight players on the roster, but these kids are working hard and are glad to be back on the court," Black River coach Brian Joy said after the game.
The Presidents indeed came to play and jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on the shooting of junior Kyle Milligan, and had a 20-10 lead after the first quarter, However, in the second stanza the Terriers began chipping away at the lead with better shot selection as senior Chris Goldschmidt and junior Drew Guild started feeling it offensively as the Terriers cut the lead to one with just under two minutes left in the half.
But the Presidents kept working hard and after senior Jacob Covell scored on a driving lay up through the lane for a 3-point lead, BF freshman Kendrick Mills scored on a follow up to end the half Black River holding a slim, one-point lead.
Milligan and senior Tyler Schaub led the Presidents at the half with 10 and nine points respectively, while Goldschmidt and Guild led BF with 12 and seven points each. For a team that had not played a varsity game since the 2009 season, only have eight players on the roster and a new head coach, Black River was hanging tough on the road.
"For it being our first game of the season and not having a lot of depth, I think we did a really good job in the first half," Black River head coach Brian Joy would say after the game.
In the second half, however, the Terriers offense finally began to click. After an early fast-break lay up from junior Jeremy Kilburn, an offensive rebound and put-back from junior Michael Hall and a slashing move inside from Guild, BF was suddenly up 41-33 and starting to control the game.
To Black River's credit though, they kept working hard and cut the lead back to three points halfway through the quarter, but the Terriers were really starting to control the boards, getting second and third-chance opportunities on offense and only allowing the Presidents one shot on the other end. After Kilburn hit a jumper coming off a timeout to end the quarter, BF had a 54-38 lead heading into the final quarter.
The final stanza would see the Terriers begin to wear down the Presidents by crashing the boards and moving the ball well on offense. In the end it was a 56-40 win for the Terriers in front of the home-crowd, which had to feel especially good. Ironically, this game was a triumph of sorts for both teams, as Bellows Falls was able to end their long losing streak and the Presidents despite the loss, had to be happy to be back on the court again.
"Rebounding and boxing out was really the issue in the second half of tonight's game," coach Joy concluded after the game. "But we no doubt, came to play tonight. We are not a big team and if we don't box out and rebound, it will be tough. Most of our guys can run the break all night, but we just gave up too many second and third-chance opportunities tonight."
Jacob Covell led the way for Black River with 19 points, while Tyler Schaub and Kyle Milligan pitched in with 11 apiece. Chris Goldschmidt led the way for the Bellows Falls with a game-high 22 points, while Drew Guild scored 15 and Michael Hall and Kendrick Mills each pitched in with eight.