SHADYSIDE - The River Pilots are rolling.
After some early season hiccups, the Pilots have officially turned it on and Shadyside will certainly agree after their Friday night encounter.
Using a sound defense and an impressive middle two quarters, the Pilots improved to 8-3 by virtue of a 65-47 victory against the Tigers.
''Our defense is really coming around,'' River coach Mark Romick said. ''Coach (Gard) Curtis puts his heart and soul into that defense and the kids are playing well.''
Not one Shadyside player reached double figures and its leading scorer was freshman Jon Michael Schuetz, who played only in the fourth quarter.
On top of the individual stats, the Pilots forced 21 turnovers and in that third quarter, held Shadyside to six points.
Shadyside coach Ed Andes sent a message to his club in the fourth quarter. He emptied his bench and played reserves for the duration.
''Through three quarters we had 27 points,'' Andes lamented. ''We're getting beat by 23 after the third and I knew we weren't coming back. We just didn't have it. So, why play kids when the effort isn't there? I just played these other kids because I wanted to see effort. We got worse as the game went along."''
Shadyside led by six at a juncture in the middle of the first quarter after an Adam Stupak triple made it 17-11.
The Pilots made sure that was the Tigers' final spurt. River closed the half on a 17-4 run to lead 28-21 and never looked back.
Senior Matt Marconi ignited the Pilots in the first half, scoring 12 of his 16 points.
The Pilots only had one trey in the first half.
''We were trying to take away the 3-point shot,'' Andes said. ''But, we must have not realized that they were back-cutting us for layups."''
In the third, Brett Price found the groove, scoring in a bevy of ways. He hit two 3s, including an impressive step-back. He slashed and scored on the drive as well. He finished with a team-high 21 points and yanked down seven rebounds.
Shadyside's leading scorers - Austin Dorris and Adam Stupak - evenly divided 14 points.