The old adage goes, “it’s not how you start, but how you finish,” but in the case of the 2019-20 Riverside Argonauts men’s basketball team, either time frame will do.
Much happened between a stirring 2-0 start and this past Friday’s home finale, but RHS will ride the winds of home victory into their first sectional game after a 70-51 dispatching of Indiana School for the Deaf.
Will Holland continued his sizzling season, netting a year-high 27 points for the squad, bringing his points per game average to a team leading 18 per game, as ISD was consistently unable to stay in front of Holland throughout. The junior’s previous season high was 23. His career high stands at 38.
The Argonauts finished their regular season last year against ISD, faltering late, but there was to be no second act this time around. RHS came out authoritative out of the gate, racing to a 7-0 lead in the opening minutes and never looked back, leading from whistle to whistle.
And it was not just Holland who saw some season bests. Juniors Jaheim Wade and Keith Smith also chipped in with 11 points, season highs for both. Junior Emmanuel Gbeyor also hit his season high with 8 points as did junior Dontate Fleming with 6.
“Thought the guys showed a lot grit and top class heart,” said head coach Bart Doan.”The off-season is long, and I think it’s only natural that you want to leave your home gym with your best effort being left there, and we did just that. It’s special to see how far it has come in three years, and it was good to see really one of our best efforts all year come in this game. I think this is the third season in a row where we’ve been playing our best ball near the end of the year, which is always the goal.”
The Argonauts learned from last year’s fixture with ISD, where they came out slow and the game was tight throughout. A Smith three-pointer from the top of the key as time expired made it 21-9 after the first quarter and by halftime, the 12-point lead had held form, 43-31.
ISD came out hot in the third, at one point drawing the margin to 9, but that was as close as they would get as the Argonauts built a 20 point lead in the second half and never looked back.
The win brings the Argonauts to 5-12 in their first full season of varsity play, and also ties a program record for season wins. The achievement is even more notable considering the fact that the squad still has no seniors, a reality that will change next season as RHS will graduate its first class.
Last year, the tilt with ISD marked the end of the season, but there is more basketball to be played for these Argonauts as they will enter sectional play for the first time in program history. Their inaugural IHSAA State Tournament game will be on March 4 at 7:30 against host Bethesda Christian. For tickets, please contact the RHS athletic department.