Chargers open season with Rams

by Mindy Carls correspondent

Riverdale defeated Orion 47-34 in Three Rivers West varsity boys basketball on Tuesday, Feb. 9, in the Charger gym.

But the real score was high school sports 1, COVID-19 0. The winners were everyone in the gym and everyone watching the live stream on the NFHS Network.

The number of spectators was limited, and they had to sit 12 feet away from the sidelines. Cheerleaders, originally told they could not participate, finally were allowed to cheer on the sidelines and on the floor.

Instead of a jump ball, one team began the game with the ball on the sideline at mid-court. With five minutes to go in each quarter, play halted for a 90-second timeout.

Players wore masks, pulled below their noses.

Orion’s Will Dunlap scored the first basket of the 2021 season. Riverdale immediately answered with a three. Another Dunlap basket gave the Chargers their second lead, but the Rams pulled ahead 6-5 midway through the first period and led the rest of the way.

Riverdale outscored Orion 15-11 in the first quarter and 12-9 in the second for a 27-20 halftime lead. In the second half, the Rams put 12 points on the board in the third and eight in the fourth, while the Chargers had seven in each period.

Brandon Stone of Riverdale scored a game-high 15 points.

Dunlap paced the Chargers with 14. Cade Weiss added 12. Adam Burgert and Jarrett Thornburg tossed in three each and Chance Stropes, two.

Orion had four triples, three by Weiss and one by Thornburg. Riverdale had eight threes.

The Chargers made four of nine free throws. Dunlap shot 2-for-2 and Weiss 1-for-2 from the line. Meanwhile, the Rams were 7-for-14.

Orion was whistled for 14 fouls and Riverdale for 11.

The Rams won the sophomore game 38-33. Elijah Soukup spun in 10 points; Trey Erdmann, eight; Kameron Weaver, six; Cole Kimball, five; and Kane Lieving, four.

Kimball and Weaver each roped in a three. Riverdale had four.

Orion was 5-for-10 at the charity stripe. Lieving and Kimball each made both of their free throws. Riverdale was 6-for-18.

The Chargers committed 16 fouls and the Rams, nine.

Orion’s Cade Weiss drives inside the perimeter during the varsity boys game with Riverdale on Tuesday, Feb. 9, in the Charger gym
Charger Josh Spranger, back, plays tough defense during the varsity game with the Riverdale Rams on Tuesday, Feb. 9, in the Orion gym. After missing most of his sophomore and junior seasons with illness and injury, Spranger appeared to be about to miss his senior season because of COVID-19. But the Illinois High School Association was able to arrange a shortened season