It's a little late in the boys basketball season for introductions, but in case you hadn't heard about Ridgeview senior Richard Bivens, this is a good time.
Bivens scored 27 points, including a rim-rattling dunk at the buzzer to punctuate a 75-69 Ridgeview victory Thursday at South, keeping the Wolf Pack in the South Yosemite League race.
"It was great," said Bivens, a 6-foot-9 transfer from Lancaster-Eastside who also pulled down 17 rebounds and blocked six shots. "The intensity was so high, and that just pumps us up."
It ended a big week for Bivens, who had 24 points and 29 rebounds in a win over Mira Monte on Tuesday. "I think it took some getting used to, because he didn't know me or the guys, and we didn't know him," Ridgeview coach James Luckey said. "And he's quiet and laid-back to begin with. But the last two or three weeks he's really gotten more comfortable."
Bivens threw down several highlight-reel dunks, including one on an alley-oop from Marcus Bruley that dislodged the backboard padding in the first quarter and another one at the final buzzer to put an exclamation point on the victory. "I'm just trying to play hard every day," Bivens said. "Everybody tells me I've got to go for it, that I'm 6-9 and I can dominate games."
The win avenged a league-opening home loss two weeks ago, when South beat the Wolf Pack on a buzzer-beater.
But even with another big night from Bivens, Ridgeview (11-11, 3-2 SYL) needed some clutch fourth-quarter play from other sources. South fought back from an 11-point deficit to force a tie after three quarters, but sophomore Aaron Charles hit two 3-pointers to start the fourth quarter and spark a 10-1 run that re-established control for the Wolf Pack. Later, sophomore Pandeep Dhand went 6-of-6 from the line to help seal victory.
"I've been stressing that we have to finish games, practices, finish everything," Luckey said. "At the end of the third, I said, 'OK, now it's 0-0. Now finish one quarter.'"
Four players scored in double figures for South (11-13, 2-3), led by Jeremy Kelly with 19 points. The Rebels got within two points in the final minute when Keith Evans (13 points) scored on a fast-break layup. South got the ball back again, but Evans missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw chance, and Ridgeview sealed it with two free throws from Dhand, who finished with 15 points. "All these league games are going to be like this," Luckey said. "Even when we get big leads, it seems like everybody fights back."
It was the third straight loss for South (10-14, 2-3) after a 2-0 start in SYL play. All three came down to the final minutes.
"The kids played hard; I tell them I don't think anybody plays harder," South coach Brian Carter said. "We're right there. It's just a matter of converting and making good plays at the end."