Eastern Falls To River Valley In Season Opener

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The River Valley Raiders headed into the Eagles Nest, home of the Eastern Eagles, Friday night looking to grab their first win of the 2014-15 season. The Raiders were able to do just that as they defeated Eastern 65-52.

The biggest problem for the Eagles (0-1) occurred when junior Dillon Swatzel picked up his second foul in the second quarter. 

“We were only down four points, and we felt like that would be our opportunity to find him (Swatzel) some time on the bench and protect him from getting that third foul,” coach Jeremy Hill said. “You aren’t going to win any games only scoring two points in a quarter.

“All of the credit goes to River Valley. They played a better basketball game tonight.”

River Valley (1-0) started off the game in a 2-3 zone, forcing the Eagles to beat them from the outside. That suited Eastern just fine as the team caught fire from beyond the 3-point arc, forcing the Raiders to switch to man-to-man defense. But before the Raiders were able to adjust, the Eagles had amassed a 19-15 lead ending the first quarter.

The second quarter was a different story.

After Swatzel picked up his second foul early in the second quarter, River Valley took full advantage. The Raiders scored 15 unanswered points, until 30 seconds left in the quarter while Swatzel watched on from the bench.

But Eastern connected on two free throws to end their scoring drought. Those two free throws would be the only points Eastern scored all quarter as they failed to hit on any field goals during the quarter. River Valley took a 30-21 at the half.

Hill made some adjustments at the half that led to the Eagles scoring 6 of the first 8 points to start the game, cutting the lead to 5. But the early surge would not be enough.

It was all River Valley after that.

The Raiders outscored the Eagles 18-13 in the third quarter. River Valley guard Tyler Twyman led the charge for the Raiders during the second half. Twyman led all scorers with 25 points, hitting 9 out of 10 free throws.

“We didn’t do a very good job on him (Twyman)," Hill said. "We knew our strategy on him before the game, and we lost him. 

“Good teams overcome those obstacles, foul trouble and turnovers,” Hill said.

Eastern looks to bounce back next Tuesday, Dec. 9, at home against the Miller Falcons.