By Doug Gorman
By now nothing Riverdale sophomore Gani Lawal does should surprise those who pack into the gym to see him play basketball.
One thing is for sure, however, Lawal is likely to treat Riverdale fans to a double-double while frustrating opponents.
Saturday night in a game against rival Lovejoy, Lawal scored 24 points and pulled down 22 rebounds.
Lawal has had three double-doubles and two triple doubles in the last five games.
His performance against Lovejoy helped lift the Raiders to a 61-48 victory in a game that was close until late in the contest.
Riverdale has now won three games in a row.
The game, however, turned into a shootout in the final two quarters as both teams took turns with the lead.
"It was a rivalry game," said Riverdale coach David Boyd. "You knew it was going to be a battle."
Trailing 31-23 at the end of the first half, Lovejoy fought its way back thanks to the play of Kevin Lewis and Maurice Simon. Simon scored eight points in the third quarter and Lewis seven in the quarter.
Simon cut the Riverdale lead to 37-36. Lovejoy regained the lead a few minutes later on a baset by Lewis for a 38-37 margin.. Lewis upped the lead to 40-37 a few seconds later.
Lawal then brought Riverdale back into the game. His thunderous dunk cut the Lovejoy lead back to 40-39. He then closed out the third-quarter scoring a basket to help Riverdale regain the lead at 41-40 heading into the fourth quarter.
Riverdale closed out the fourth quarter on a 15-8 run .
Lawal and Travis Parham put the icing on the victory cake with two fourth-quarter dunks.
Lovejoy took control of the game early in the first quarter when Simon hit a shot to go up 7-4. After Riverdale regained the lead at 8-7, Lewis hit a 3-point shot for Lovejoy to give Lovejoy a 10-8 lead.
The momentum swung back to Riverdale as it scored the final seven points of the quarter to lead 15-10 at the end of the first quarter.
The Raiders extended their lead to 20--10 when Quinton Bracey hit a pair of free throws.
Then it was Lovejoy's turn to go on a scoring spurt. Anthony Johnson scored six points in the second quarter and Matt Allen hit a shot during the quarter to cut the margin to 20-19.
B y the end of the second quarter, Riverdale extended the margin to 31-23.
Riverdalde 69, Lovejoy 49: The Riverdale Lady Raiders and Lovejoy Lady Wildcats had plenty of time to think about getting their game started Saturday afternoon as they waited for the game officials to show up.
A scheduling mix up caused all three officials to arrive at the Riverdale gym nearly an hour later than the scheduled 4 p.m. start time.
The delay didn't seem to bother the Lady Raiders as they won 69-49.
Riverdale put its offense in high gear early, and built a 21-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Antoinette Williams was the early offensive leader for the Lady Raiders. The freshman scored 18 of her game-high 25 points in the first half as Riverdale led 48-24 at the break.
Riverdale increased the lead to 20 points for the first time in the game when Anganecia Lewis hit a shot to put Riverdale up 31-17.
After a Lovejoy run cut the lead back under 20, Tangi Gray pushed the lead back to 20 at 41-21. Lewis' spin move through a couple of Lovejoy defenders gave the Raiders a 43-21 lead.
Williams scored the last five points for the Lady Raiders, including a 3-point shot to give the Lady Raiders a 48-24 lead at the break.
"We shot the ball pretty well tonight," said Riverdale coach Derrick Powell. "This was a big win after losing Friday night."
Riverdale led 57-40 at the end of the third quarter. Lovejoy's Shari Buford tried to keep the Lady Wildcats in the game with an 18 point effort.
Laura Broomfield scored 23 points and joined Williams in double figures for Riverdale. Her fourth quarter basket gave Riverdale a 65-44 lead.
Morrow 75, Mt. Zion 51 (boys): The Morrow boys basketball team improved its record to 7-1 overall with a 75-51 record over rival Mt. Zion.
Eric Wilson scored 20 and Ronald Aguilar had 19.
Mundy's Mill 70, Forest Park 51(boys): Kent Dorsey scored 21 points and Corey Kimbro added 14.
Jonesboro 59, North Clayton 36 (girls): Shade' Smith scored 25 points and Jawanda Duffey added 15 points as Jonesboro improved to 9-0 overall and 3-0 in league play.
Jasmine Duffey pulled down 14 rebounds.