By Anthony Rhoads
The Riverdale Raiders upset the 11th-ranked team in Class AAAAA when they beat Lovejoy 63-59 Tuesday night on the road.
Riverdale (13-7, 9-2) is now tied with Lovejoy for first place in Region 4-AAAAA.
Going into the second half of Tuesday's game, Riverdale wasn't playing that great of a game and had only scored eight points in the second quarter to go down 34-29 at the half.
But Riverdale went on a 7-0 run to start the third quarter and didn't look back.
"We always want to score the first six points of the second half and tonight we scored the first seven," Riverdale head coach David Boyd said. "That made a big difference. We were down by five after that run we had a two-point lead."
While Riverdale's offense got back on track in the third quarter, Lovejoy sputtered. Riverdale outscored Lovejoy 17-7 in the third quarter to take a 46-41 lead going into the final quarter.
"I thought we played great defense in the second half," Boyd said. "Lovejoy is an outstanding team and we feel very good about the win. We felt like we passed a very important test but not the final exams yet. The final exams will come in the region and state tournaments but we passed a big test tonight. Our team played very hard and I'm real proud of our guys."
Five Riverdale plays scored in double figures with Bryan Gates leading the way with 16 points. Sean Hightower added 13, Mike Wisdom scored 11 while Demarius Patrick and Gani Lawal chipped in 10 each.
Lovejoy's Michael Sloan led all scorers with 18 points. Daashon Pryor scored 16 and Vernard Hoover added 11.
Riverdale has now won six straight games while Lovejoy entered the contest with a five-game winning streak.
Riverdale 84, Lovejoy 49 (girls): While the boys' game was a battle all the way to the end, the girls' contest was a different story.
Lovejoy managed to stay in the game in the first quarter as Riverdale led 20-13 but the Lady Raiders exploded for 27 second-quarter points to take a 47-25 lead into halftime.
For the third straight game, Riverdale (15-3, 10-1) had four players scoring in double figures with Antoinette Williams leading with 18 points. Shalondan Hollingshed scored 14 with Sasha Simmons and Brittany Baity adding 10 each.
"This was one of those very rare occasions were everything clicked on all cylinders," Riverdale head coach Derick Powell said.
On defense, Riverdale recorded 23 steals while turning the ball over only nine times.
"Things aren't always going to go your way on offense and you don't always get the points but you should always play good defense," Powell said. "Defense wins championships."
Riverdale is ranked No. 14 in Class AAAAA in this week's gabasketball.net state coaches' poll.