River Dell Varsity Boys Basketball Team extends winning streak to five games


The River Dell Golden Hawks Varsity Boys Basketball Team(11-7, 6-2 Big North Patriot) faced the Indian Hills Braves (7-12, 0-8 Big North Patriot) at River Dell High School in Oradell, New Jersey.

River Dell was coming off a 49-45 win over Westwood at Westwood Regional High School in the Township of Washington, New Jersey, extending the Golden Hawks winning streak to four games.

Initially, a tip-off scheduled for 4 p.m. was pushed back a half-hour. Indian Hills jumped to a 16-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Golden Hawks were led in scoring by Liam Hickey, tallying six points.

In the second quarter, the Braves widened their advantage to double digits at 25-15. However, River Dell answered back with a 5-0 spurt. David Nunez provided the bulk of offense for the Golden Hawks, notching nine points that shrunk the Indian Hills lead to 27-24 at halftime.

Liam Hickey, on the message from Head Coach Ron Van Saders at intermission, "He said the league is on the line right now, and all we need is for Ramsey to lose one, and we need to win out, and we're league champs." "Don't let this feeling when you come back into the locker room and make it a good one."

The Golden Hawks continued to flourish on the offensive end in the third quarter, tying the game up at 29-29 on a trifecta by David Nunez. Indian Hills responded with a 5-0 blitz, but River Dell matched that output as Sean Golden knocked down a step-back jumper from downtown that nodded up the game at 34-34.

The back-and-forth action ensued as the Braves jumped back in front 41-36. Once the Golden Hawks ignite a rebuttal with an 8-0 to jump ahead 44-41 at the end of the period. River Dell's passing skills were on full display, which led to wide-open layups.

"That comes through hard work and practice for the chemistry to build," Liam Hickey noted. "I think we have 33 assists over the last two games, and Coach Van Saders said in our film session as a team our assist-to-turnover ratio is three to one in the last two games, which is very good." "We're shooting the ball very well, around 40 percent from the field, and that's definitely important."

Once the fourth quarter commenced, it quickly became the Aditya Pandya highlight reel show as Pandya dominated offensively, scoring in a variety of ways, whether on fast-break and transition layups, post-up shots in the low post, and hitting short jumpers in the paint and lane.

Pandya, limited to two points through three quarters, erupted for 16 in the final frame as the Golden Hawks stretched out the margin, eventually cruised to the 68-53 victory, and increased their winning streak to five games. Liam Hickey and David each dropped 18 points, while Sean Golden added 10.

"My coaches keep telling me to run down the floor whenever someone grabs the rebounds, and that's what I did," Aditya Pandya explained. "Indian Hills had no idea how to guard me in transition, and then my teammates were able to find me in Sean(Golden), (Liam)Hickey and David(Nunez) a couple of times."

River Dell returns to action on Saturday, February 3rd, squaring off against Rutherford(16-4, 8-2 NJIC National) in the Bergen Invitational Tournament Quarterfinals at Indian Hills High School in Oakland, New Jersey, with tip-off set for 3:30 p.m. The Golden Hawks defeated Dwight-Englewood 58-51 in the first round. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs squeaked by Mahwah 49-46.

"To advance to the semifinal round we just got to play our game and run through our offense, really defend and rebounding is important," Liam Hickey explained. "We have to contain Rutherford's dribble and they have a big guy 6'6(Matthew Remias)."

"No wins are easy to come by, and at the beginning of the season, we started rough at 3-6, and now we're on a roll." "Now we're hot and looking forward to carrying this on into winning the BIT(Bergen Invitational Tournament) and going far in the state tournament, but right now, it's one game at a time, and we're focusing on that."

"It's nice to go on this win streak; we won seven out of our last eight and are trying to get eight of nine." The Rutherford game will be ample power points to help us advance in the state tournament."

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