Prep boys basketball: Caldwell drains River

MORRISTOWN – The object of basketball is putting the ball through the basket.

River had trouble doing that Tuesday night during its Division IV boys’ sectional tournament opener with Caldwell inside ‘The Hangar’ at Union Local High School.

The Redskins (16-7) didn’t as they blistered the nets from both the field and the foul line in rolling past the Pilots, 63-44. Caldwell sank 20 of 33 shots from the floor (60 percent) while knocking down 17 of 21 free throws (81 percent).

“We missed 14 shots within four feet of the bucket. You cannot win basketball games shooting like that,” veteran River head coach Mark Romick stressed. “That’s been our nemesis all season. At this point in the season you can’t blame it on youth, it’s just the inability to score.

“We have to get out (this summer) and work our butts off on shooting the ball,” he added. “It’s as simple as that.”

While the Redskins were seemingly making everything they threw up, the Pilots were on the opposite end of the spectrum as they managed a 15-for-41 effort from the field and 10-for-19 from the charity stripe.

Poor shooting and five turnovers left the Monroe Countians on the short end of a 13-5 count after eight minutes. Both teams tallied 18 second-quarter points as the Noble County quint maintained its’ 8-point bulge, 31-23.

“We’re within striking distance at halftime, but our inability to put the ball in the basket hurt us,” Romick continued. “Then, in the second half our lack of knowledge of the game prohibits us from getting in the right places sometimes, and it usually results in a turnover because we hang each other out to dry.

“The kids played hard and I’m really proud of them,” he said. “We lost seven seniors from last years team and these kids could’ve very easily packed it in halfway through this year, but they didn’t. That’s not their mental makeup.”

Caldwell’s markmanship from the free throw stripe in the second half allowed it to pull away. They meshed 11 of 14 shots after the intermission.

Jonathan Weichman led four Redskins in double figures with 16 points. Tanner Baker added 13, while Tanner Harding had a dozen and Tanner Clark 10.

River’s Ryan Indermuhle led all scorers in the game with 19. Cole Isaly dropped in a trio of threes off the bench and finished with 10.

The Pilots accumulated 15 turnovers and pulled down 22 rebounds. Jarrett Armann had six.

Caldwell advances to meet Malvern Saturday at 1 p.m., also at Union Local.