River Dell freshman boys basketball team 12 game winning streak ends in loss to Mahwah


Coming off back-to-back road wins at Dumont and Westwood that extended their winning streak to 12 games in a row, the River Dell Golden Hawks freshman boys basketball team returned home hosting Mahwah at River Dell High School.

The Golden Hawks scored the first points of the game, but the Thunderbirds stormed back with an 8-0 run in not even two minutes. Aditya Pandya ended almost a three-minute dry spell for River Dell, converting a three-point play on a lay-in.

Mahwah was on fire from behind the arc burying three trifectas as they led 13-7 at the end of the quarter.

On the first quarter, River Dell Head Coach Ben Orth said, "It was a slow start out of the gate, and Mahwah hit some shots early on, which put us on our heels a little bit."

In the second quarter, the Golden Hawks narrowed the gap t 13-10 with five minutes remaining on a triple from Ryan Rossig. However, the Thunderbirds continued to sizzle from downtown connecting on a pair of shots as they held a 21-16 advantage at halftime.

"When they hit four out of their first threes that's good and it's going to get any team off to a good start," Head Coach Ben Orth explained. "Especially when you are playing against a solid team it's going to be harder to come back from that."

Once the third quarter got underway, Mahwah stretched out their lead to 26-18 with less than seven minutes left. However, River Dell answered with an emphatic 12-0 spurt in the last five minutes of the quarter. Patrick Sweeny and Regan Joyce accounted for all the points.

Head Coach Ben Orth's message to the team at halftime, "I just let them know Mahwah was dictating how we wanted to play." "Usually, we try to go out and be the opposite where we dictate how the other team wants to play." They controlled the game after hitting some early shots and put us in a position to chase and chase, and we'd instead be playing from out in front.

In the fourth quarter, the scoring output of both teams came to a screeching halt. The Golden Hawks maintained the lead at 33-28 with three minutes to go.

The River Dell offense struggling allowed the Thunderbirds to go on a 5-0 run to tie the game up at the two-minute mark. Mahwah went ahead 35-33 with one minute left on a jump shot as time winded down.

The Golden Hawks still had ample time and opportunities to either tie or go in front, but the ball did not bounce their way. In the last two seconds of the game, Brendan Miceli found open space at the baseline for the spin-around jump shot, but it fell short of the basket as time expired on the clock.

"That was probably amongst the most frustrating quarters to watch, Head Coach Ben Orth described. "There wasn't a lack of opportunities, we certainly got three or four open shots in the final minute that would have either have tied the game or taken the lead, but some days they don't fall." Multiple guys had off days, it's going to compound in a loss, and we only had 33 points.

River Dell (13-2) returns to action this weekend with back-to-back games. First on Saturday, February 12th at Cresskill with an early morning tip-off at 10:30 a.m. followed by a second-round duel against Demarest in the Bergen County Coaches Association Freshman Tournament with a noon tip-off at Bergen Catholic High School.

"We're going to have to take care of the basketball and rebound," Head Coach Ben Orth noted. "It sounds like coach speak but is true if we want to come out with the wins."

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