QUINCY, W.Va. -- So far this season, Riverside's losses read like a who's who of Class AAA Kanawha Valley hoops, with defeats to South Charleston, Hurricane, Capital and George Washington.
But with the schedule lightening up for a bit, now could be the time for the Warriors to make hay.
After a slow start on Friday night, Riverside looked like a team ready to do just that as its offense finally caught up to an already tenacious defense and the Warriors raced by visiting Princeton 61-41.
"They came out with a zone and it always takes a little bit of time for teams to get used to it," Riverside coach Ryan Carter said. "They play a very good matchup zone. It took us a little bit, but once we got going, we got going.
"I'm more proud of the way our defense was tonight. I think it's starting to come together. We're finally starting to play as a team, as a unit - I've been preaching since the Hurricane game, it doesn't matter how many points we score individually, it matters how many points the guy I'm guarding scores. That's the mentality I want my team to have."
Indeed, Princeton managed just 30-percent shooting (14 for 46) including just 4 for 18 from 3-point range.
But the real turning point came with the Warriors up just 13-10 with 3:39 remaining in the second quarter.
Princeton's Ashton O'Dell drove into the lane and was fouled but was hit with a technical after getting up and saying something directed at a Riverside player. That turned a Tigers possession into two free throws for Riverside's Tyus Wood and the ball.
Wood, who was averaging 21.3 points as of Tuesday, hadn't scored before those two foul shots but scored eight more points before the break as the Warriors used a 17-5 run to claim a 30-15 lead.
"It's just a lack of discipline right there," Princeton coach Ernie Gilliard said. "They have to keep their minds focused on the game and you can't worry about guys that do things that are unsavory because sometimes they do that just to trigger a negative response and that's exactly what happened. I don't know whether that one play set the tone or not, we didn't execute.