Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

BOYS BASKETBALL ; Riverside, Catholic Rush into Finals at WVU Tech

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

BOYS BASKETBALL ; Riverside, Catholic Rush into Finals at WVU Tech

Article excerpt

MONTGOMERY - The only Class AAA team in the field and the only team with a winning record figured to advance to the finals of the WVU Tech Holiday Shootout, and so it came to pass Thursday evening. Riverside wore down Sherman 69-37 in the opening game at the Baisi Center, and Charleston Catholic held off a game Valley squad 69-52 in the nightcap.

The AAA Warriors and Class A Irish will tangle in the championship game at approximately 7:45 p.m. Friday, following the consolation contest between Sherman and Valley that tips off at 6.

Riverside (1-4) picked up its first win and secured its spot in the finals behind a herculean effort from 6-foot-6 junior center T.J. Wood, who erupted for 17 points, 20 rebounds, four blocked shots and four assists.

"He's grown so much the past couple years," said Warriors coach Ryan Carter. "He's really become a great basketball player for us. Coach [Andre] Higgins, my big guy coach, has done a great job with him. He's really putting in a lot of work. He's our workhorse."

In games against Mountain State Athletic Conference foes, Riverside is generally undersized except for Wood. But against the Class A Tide Thursday night, Wood was able to flex his muscles a bit, picking up seven offensive boards among his 20.

"It's all about heart, that's all it is," Wood said. "Just be better than everyone else. Ain't no pressure on me at all. My team backs me up real good."

Three other Warriors hit double figures in points, with Jacob Clark netting 18, Juanye Jackson 11 and Dom Reed 10. Jackson came off the bench to knock down three 3-pointers.

Carter was pleased that his team didn't get down on itself after opening the season against four teams with a current record of 13-4 - Capital, South Charleston, George Washington and Wyoming East.

"It's been a rough road," Carter said. "I told the guys they just have to keep banging and get better. …

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