Triad’s Dillon Nott (1) drives to the basket. The Cardinals beat Riverside on Saturday to claim their first victory in nearly two years. (Photo submitted)
Triad’s boys basketball team accomplished something it hasn’t done in nearly two years with Saturday’s 47-42 win against Riverside.
The Cardinals (who posted a 0-23 record a year ago) lost their first eight games of the current campaign prior to Saturday’s triumph.
The win was a more-than-welcome feeling for the school.
It was the first win for the Cardinals since Feb. 13, 2018 when they beat Madison Plains.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had that kind of excitement in our home gym,” said head coach Jason Malone. “I’m really happy for our guys. We’ve made small steps of progress this season, but we’ve have also had setbacks.
“We had a tough night on Friday at Southeastern, but somehow our guys found a way to respond on Saturday. They were determined and resilient in that fourth quarter.
“I’m really proud of how they played and it was really rewarding to see their excitement after the win,” said Malone. “Now, we’ll look to build on this success.”
The Pirates held a 15-11 lead after the opening quarter and took a 29-21 advantage into the halftime break.
Things still looked bleak for the Cardinals as they trailed, 38-28, at the end of the third set.
Triad’s defense extended the floor and clamped down during the final stanza, limiting the Pirates to just four points.
Ayden Sanford tallied 10 of his 15 points during the fourth quarter to propel the Cardinals to the victory.
“We were stagnant offensively in the first half and were looking for something to create momentum and scoring opportunities,” said Malone. “Our defense wasn’t too bad, but offensively we couldn’t generate any points or get into any rhythm.
“We took Riverside out of what they wanted to do on offense and it sparked us getting into transition in the fourth quarter,” said Malone. “Drew Campbell and Dillon Nott each hit three-pointers in the fourth quarter and helped erase a 10- point deficit.”
Nott drilled a baseline three to tie the game at 39.
Ayden Sanford followed with a steal and was fouled on a layup attempt.
He made both charity tosses to give the Cardinals their first lead of the game at 41-39.
“Ayden followed that up with another steal and transition layup to put us up 43-39 with less than two minutes to go,” said Malone. “He hit two more free throws to put us at 45-39.”
The Pirates answered with a three-pointer by Kaden Burk with less than 30 seconds remaining to cut Triad’s lead to 45-42
Batai Lease made two free throws with less than a couple of seconds to play to seal the win for Triad.
Sanford 5-3-15, Sizemore 3-0-8, Lease 2-3-7, Nott 2-0-6, Spriggs 3-0-6, Campbell 2-0-5, Freyhof 0-0-0. Totals 17-6-47.
Three-point goals: Sanford 2, Sizemore 2, Nott 2, Campbell 1.
Budd-16, Zumberger 12-, Avflick-five, Long-four, Jackson-three Whitfield-two.
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