Western Albemarle’s boys basketball team was handed their first loss of the season in their last game of 2021, falling to Riverside 61-54 in day two of the Daily Progress Holiday Hoops Classic.
The Warriors were without star big man Josh Sime, and his presence was missed as the Warriors struggled to grab key rebounds and score at times.
The Warriors had no answer for Riverside’s versatile forward Jamie Ntiamoah, and his play was perhaps where Western missed Sime’s presence the most. The Rams rushed out to a 20-10 lead in the 1st, and Ntiamoah accounted for nine of those points.
His presence was also huge for the Rams on the defensive end, providing some big blocks and securing some big rebounds down the stretch.
Western trailed 23-16 after one, keeping the margin to only seven despite Riverside shooting over 70 percent from the field in the opening period.
The Rams pushed their lead to double digits at one point in the second, but Western’s Isaac Sumpter nailed a three at the buzzer to cut the lead to 34-26 at the half.
The Warriors found themselves down 13 halfway through the third, at 46-33 at one point. Western’s Darren Maynard was then whistled for a technical, which ironically brought new life to the Warriors bench after Riverside nailed the two free throws to push Riverside’s lead back to double digits. The Warriors went on a 7-0 run to end the period capped by a Luca Tesoriere three to cut the Riverside lead to 46-40.
Western had several opportunities to cut more into the lead, but the Warriors couldn’t convert on some key free throws to push Western over the hump. Cameron Koscinski scored five straight for the Rams to put them up 56-49, and the Rams held on from there. They pushed to lead to 61-49 with under a minute left, but Western scored the final five points of the game to seal the final margin.
It is a tough loss for the Warriors (7-1) that have had an impressive string of wins over non-district opponents to start the year, including wins over John Handley, Skyline, and Stafford. Isaac Sumpter struggled from the field but still notched 13 points. Lucas Farmer had 13 and secured 4 rebounds and Alex Keeton chipped in 10 points and two assists.
For Riverside, Koscinski scored 22, going an impressive eight-for-eight from the field to lead the Rams (6-4). Ntiamoah had 16 and seven rebounds in the Rams win.
Western will try to bounce back tomorrow on their home court in the final day of the Holiday Hoops Classic, playing host to another Loudoun County team in Broad Run. The Spartans fell to Albemarle 65-39 the game after Western played Riverside.