RIVERTON February always seems to be a good month for Riverton.
In the past two years, the Silverwolves used strong showings in the final month of the regular season to set up consecutive 5A title game appearances.
It appears Riverton has conjured up some of that late-season magic again.
The Silverwolves rolled to their fourth straight win with a 64-56 victory over Region 3 leader West Jordan on Friday night sending the Jaguars to a second consecutive loss after Copper Hills snapped their 11-game winning streak on Tuesday.
Riverton has taken out the region's two toughest teams Bingham and West Jordan in the span of a week to put itself just a game away from claiming first place.
"We're peaking at the right time," said junior swingman Scott Friel.
Friel played a big part in keeping those winning ways going. Shortly after the Jaguars rallied from a 27-24 halftime deficit to tie it at 37-37 on Jordan Weirick's putback, Friel came up with a pair of huge offensive plays to keep the Silverwolves from falling behind.
He converted a three-point play to make it 40-37. Then, after Tanner Connors hit one of two free throws on the other end, Friel answered with a jumper to push the lead to 42-38 with 1:13 left in the third quarter.
It was the beginning of a decisive 13-5 run that secured Riverton's lead for good. Friel capped off the run with a putback basket that made it 50-42 with 3:11 remaining in the game.
Friel, who finished with 17 points, thought the team would need a cushion after seeing West Jordan nearly erase a 16-point deficit during the final minutes against Copper Hills.
"Those guys can just hit a couple of threes and come back with you so fast," Friel said. "We felt like we had to get that little run going."
Once the Silverwolves took a lead, they held onto it at the free throw line. Riverton hit 19 of 21 free-throw attempts overall and made a solid 11 of 13 in the final minute and a half.
It proved especially beneficial when Weirick and Rayes Gallegos combined to make three treys in just over a minute to push the Jaguars to within four, 55-51, with 1:20 left.
During their four-game winning streak, the Silverwolves have shot better than 80 percent from the free-throw line.
"We have some good free-throw shooters and they made the fourth quarter free throws," Riverton coach Steve Galley said. "What's been really nice is, with the team we have on the floor at the end of games, we have five good free-throw shooters on the court."
Riverton senior Geoff Andrews led all scorers with 21 points. Mason Sawyer finished with 16 points to lead West Jordan.Sawyer did most of his damage in the second quarter. The junior guard scored seven straight points starting with a three-pointer and ending with a layup off a steal to give the Jaguars their first lead at 20-19.
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