By Dante Quazzo
Every basketball coach knows that forcing turnovers on one end will lead to easy shots on the other, and Archbishop Riordan High School exploited that advantage against University on Wednesday night.
The Crusaders held the visiting Red Devils scoreless through the first quarter and led from start to finish in a 66-43 non-league victory.
Riordan wreaked havoc on the defensive end, forcing 20 University turnovers that led to 28 points for the Crusaders (4-2).
“We always say, ‘Defense creates offense,’” said Riordan head coach Rich Buckner. “We got easy transition buckets and we did a good job of jumping the ball-handler.”
Riordan jumped out to a 14-0 lead after the end of the first quarter on the back of its strong defense, stifling the University offensive attack.
“We didn’t come ready to play. We dug ourselves a hole,” said University head coach Randal Bessolo.
However, the Red Devils (4-5) rebounded in the second quarter behind the play of junior guard David Medoff, who scored nine points in the frame, to go into the half only trailing 28-19.
But just as University drew near in the third quarter, Riordan pulled away for good with another 14-0 run to put the game out of reach.
“We had a rough stretch there in the third quarter where we didn’t take care of the ball and Riordan made us pay,” Bessolo said. “They turned it into a layup line there.”
The Crusaders were led on offense by sophomore guard Bobby Arenas, who had a career-high 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Arenas was fed all night long by junior point guard Geru Mabrey, who finished with 10 assists and six points.
“We’ve been so up and down this year, like a roller coaster,” Buckner said. “Tonight was one of our best-played games of the year and hopefully it put the roller coaster on the upswing.”
Still, it was the Riordan defense that stood out, as the Crusaders held the Red Devils, who average more than 67 points per game, to just 34 percent shooting from the floor.
“We knew [University] put up 40 3’s [against Mission], so we had to get back and contest every shot, and we did that well tonight,” Arenas said.
Bobby Arenas — 22
Anthony Castillo — 11
Daniel Selsor — 10
Graham Gilleran — 8
Geru Mabrey — 6
Harold Getz — 13
Chris Mah — 12
David Medoff — 9
Greg Elliot — 4
Jordan Byers — 3