River Hill’s Charlie Thomas scored 26 points, 20 of which came in the second half, to help the Hawks hold off visiting Reservoir Friday night, 55-53.
It was a turnaround jumper by Thomas with 36 seconds left that proved to be the game-winner, capping off a back-and-forth fourth quarter that saw the lead change hands eight different times.
“In my mind, it was a game just like Centennial yesterday,” said Thomas, who had scored 34 points in helping the Hawks defeat the Eagles a day earlier. “They stepped it up in the second half, and me and my team had to pull through again. They took the lead a couple times and it was up to us to retaliate.”
Thomas ended up scoring 20 of the 25 points River Hill (4-0, 4-0) put on the scoreboard in the second half. And he did it with a wide array of baskets — hitting a 3-pointer, a mid-range jumper, five lay-ups and five foul shots.
“Every game he is getting better and that is the scary thing right now,” River Hill coach Matt Graves said. “As he keeps developing, he’s going to keep opening more and more up. Not just for himself either … the better he is, the more looks everyone else is going to get too.”
Reservoir (2-2, 2-2), which had trailed by seven, 30-23, at the half, used a 9-0 run over the first two minutes of the third quarter to get itself back in it. Seth Henry (13 points), Alex Hedgren (8) and Aaron McDonald (7) were the leaders for the Gators during the run and the majority of the night.
In that spurt that actually put the Gators ahead, 32-30, for the first time since the opening minutes, all the team’s baskets were scored in transition.
“I don’t know why we wait to play with that kind of energy … that’s what we’re looking for all the time,” Reservoir coach Mike Coughlan said.
On the other side, it wasn’t the run that surprised Graves, but how quick it happened.
“That was the biggest frustration. To have built a lead of that nature against a team like that who is so good at grinding it out and then give it right back in a matter of two minutes … that was tough,” said Graves, who had gotten big baskets from Mike Heitzmann (9 points), Keenan Schlecht (6) and Gary Sandler (6) in that opening half to establish the cushion.
With the River Hill on the ropes, though, Thomas took over. It was an old-fashioned three-point play by Thomas with a 31 seconds left in the third quarter that tied the game at 40. Then right before the quarter ended, Heitzmann hit his third three of the night to put the Hawks back in front.
After the see-saw final quarter, Reservoir had one final chance to win it, but Joe Kearney’s desperation shot bounced off the backboard and River Hill stayed undefeated.
“This team is resilient and they showed me a ton tonight about how they can dig down and find something extra after playing three games in three days. They found a way to win,” Graves said.
River Hill 55, Reservoir 53
RH (4-0, 4-0): Thomas 26, Heitzmann 9, Sandler 6, Schlecht 6, Titus 4, Patterson 2, Gable 2.
Re (2-2, 2-2): Henry 13, Hedgren 8, McDonald 7, Mayers 6, Parker 5, Reilly 5, Obering 4, Kearney 3, O’Hagan 2.
Half: 30-23 RH.