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High school boys basketball: Riverton earns tournament berth

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 22 2012 8:17 a.m. MST

RIVERTON — It was a runaway locomotive and all Lehi could do was get out of the way.

With just over three minutes left in the third quarter, clinging to a three point lead, Riverton finished on a 13-2 run and never looked back in a 64-43 win to keep its season alive on Tuesday night.

With the win the Silverwolves (11-10) clinched the final playoff spot in the Region 3 standings.

"We have potential to go into the tournament," said Riverton point guard D McCleary, who finished with a co-high 18-points on his home court. "No one was expecting us to be in the tournament a month ago but we're playing good.. So, we could do some damage."

Early in the first quarter the pace and effectiveness resembled a scrounge pickup game at a local gym. Both teams were struggling to connect from the field and readily turning the ball over.

Riverton, nonetheless, found itself with an early 8-0 lead with six minutes remaining in the opening quarter. Six points came in transition off of Lehi turnovers.

With the lead, the Silverwolves were able to withstand multiple runs with the play continuing to fluctuate.

"We're a roller-coaster team," Riverton coach Steve Galley said. "We know that we can play with the very best teams. We just rarely have played four quarters."

Trailing 22-10 in the opening minutes of the second quarter, Lehi (11-10) embarked on a 10-2 run behind Colton Colledge's eight straight points.

Riverton extended the lead at the charity stripe moments later, ending the half 27-20. As a team, the Silverwolves connected on 22-of-24 freebies, including 10 straight attempts in the fourth quarter.

"We started early in the year being a great free-throw shooting team, (but) we haven't done anything like that in awhile," stated Galley. "We're going to be hard to beat on our home court when (we're) doin' that."

The third quarter, so it seemed, belonged to the Pioneers in the early stages. With Colledge and Tanner Pittard orchestrating the pace, Lehi sliced the lead to 31-28 with three minutes and few ticks remaining.

That's when Riverton lit the fuel.

Richard Worsham, a 6-foot-7 presence in the paint, scored eight straight points to ignite the run that ultimately proved too much for the Pioneers.

"He hasn't been healthy all year and he's finally at full strength," Galley said of Worsham, who also finished with 18 points. "We were trying to establish him. We thought that was a major emphasis and he came through."

The Silverwolves ended the quarter with an emphatic rejection by Tevita Loamanu, allowing Stephan Holm to take a direct flight coast-to-coast for the decisive two points as time expired.

"We wanted to push the ball the whole game and when they got close we weren't pushing the ball at all," said McCleary about the transition game correlating with the massive point swing. "So, we just had to keep pushin' it and I'm the point guard so I got to dictate what we do."

Galley credited the success to ball control.

"I thought us not turning the ball over," he said. "We had a good lead early on and then we had eight turnovers and we were giving up offensive rebounds."

Holm bucketed 12 points, including three rim-shaking dunks and Bryce Stone added nine points for the 'Wolves.

Email: tphibbs@desnews.com

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