Class D-2 No. 2-rated Riverside deservedly receives plenty of attention because of its ability to pile up points.

But paying more attention to defense has paid off for the Chargers recently, too.

On Tuesday, Riverside limited Heartland Lutheran to 23.5 percent (8-for-34) shooting from the floor while coasting to a 64-30 Goldenrod Conference victory.

“In the last two games in our holiday tournament, we didn’t perform well on the defensive end,” Riverside coach Joe Imus said. “We’re a good offensive team, and we were letting other teams be good offensive teams.

“Since the holiday tournament, we’ve spent a lot of time working on defense and mixed up our lineup a little bit, and it showed. We gave up 18 points in three quarters, and if we’re going to shoot like we did, that’s going to stick out for us.”

Heartland Lutheran (6-3) was 4-for-27 (14.8 percent) over the first three quarters with only two made 2-point field goals.

“They are just so much more physical,” Red Hornets coach Rick Rath said. “There’s a reason why they were state champs in football. We haven’t run up against that other than against Humphrey St. Francis, which is another state (football) champion.

“Our conference is really loaded in that aspect with tremendous athletes and we’ve just got to learn from that and get better.”

Imus said plenty of talking paid off for his team on the defensive end.

“We did a good job communicating,” he said. “When we’re not playing good defense, we’re not talking. We could listen to them on the bench saying what they were going to be doing talking to one another. We were one unit as opposed to five individuals.”

Riverside (8-1) led 13-6 after the first quarter with Tanner Hudson scoring the Chargers’ final seven points of the period.

He was just getting started.

After missing his first two shots of the game, Hudson made 9 of his next 10 en route to 24 points.

His only miss came on a 3-pointer, but he snagged the long rebound and quickly fired to an open Jake Kennedy underneath the basket for the assist.

“He has nights like that where he can’t miss and he has nights where he kind of struggles,” Imus said. “Tonight he found his groove and he used it to his advantage.”

Hudson, who finished 9-for-14 overall and 5-for-10 on 3-pointers, said it took a couple of shots to get going.

“In the beginning I was shooting short and wasn’t feeling right there,” he said. “Then all of a sudden I caught fire and felt myself.

“Imus was getting on my back and telling me that I could shoot and I was feeling it from there. I gained confidence and that turned over to defense. We were playing all over the floor.”

Hudson produced 11 points in the second quarter to help the Chargers build up a 38-14 halftime cushion.

“I wasn’t that unhappy with the first quarter even though we were down,” Rath said. “We were hustling. But in the second they punched us in the mouth and we didn’t react the way I thought we would.

“At the start of the second quarter they got on a roll and I thought we let down both physically and mentally. That’s the first time I’ve seen that with our team.”

Kennedy finished with 15 points on efficient 7-for-9 shooting while Noah Valasek added 11 for the Chargers.

Jacob Simonson topped Heartland Lutheran with nine points.

Riverside 64, Heartland Lutheran 30

RIVERSIDE (8-1)

Kennedy 7-9 0-0 15, Martinsen 2-4 0-0 4, Langan 1-1 0-0 2, Valasek 4-10 3-5 11, Hudson 9-14 1-2 24, Bloom 1-1 0-0 3, Lozano 0-0 0-0 0, Swerczek 1-5 0-0 3, Slevin 0-0 0-0 0, Cornwell 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 25-44 6-9 64.

HEARTLAND LUTHERAN (6-3)

Simonson 4-12 0-0 9, Warneke 0-3 0-0 0, Zapata 0-0 4-6 4, Staehr 1-7 1-2 4, D. Hueftle 0-7 4-6 30, Splattstoesser 2-3 2-2 6, B. Hueftle 0-0 0-0 0, Messersmith 0-0 0-0 0, Probasco 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 8-34 11-16 30.

Riverside 13 25 19 7—64

Heartland Luth. 6 8 4 12—30

3-point field goals—R 8-18 (Kennedy 1-2, Bloom 1-1, Swerczek 1-3, Valasek 0-2, Hudson 5-10), HL 3-14 (Simonson 1-6, Warneke 0-3, Staehr 1-4, Probasco 1-1). Fouled out—Langan. Rebounds—R 36 (Hudson 9), HL 17 (Splattstoesser, D. Hueftle 4). Assist—R 12 (Martinsen, Swerczek 3), HL 3 (Simonson 2). Turnovers—R 10, HL 12. Total fouls—R 16, HL 9. Technicals—none.

GIRLS: Riverside 62, Heartland Lutheran 41

Kalie Bloom scored a layup off the opening tipoff, and Riverside was off and running towards a 62-41 victory over Heartland Lutheran Tuesday.

The Chargers scored repeatedly in transition while outscoring the Red Hornets 23-8 in the opening quarter.

“That was our greatest first quarter of the season,” Riverside coach Will Wragge said. “Twenty-three points in the first quarter? That really helps if you can get out and get going on them.”

Except for a 3-pointer by Molly Berger, all of Riverside’s baskets in the first period came off of layups, drives or passes inside.

Wragge liked seeing his team repeatedly take high-percentage shots while going 10-for-14 in the first quarter.

“That was our game plan coming into the game,” he said. “We wanted to outrun them. With transition points, it’s easier to make layups than it is to make set shots. So let’s take it to the hoop and get easy layups.”

Heartland Lutheran coach Kathryn Langrehr knew her team would have to slow down Riverside’s transition game to be successful.

“That was a big concern coming in,” she said. “They have a lot of fast athletes, and we weren’t able to grab the tempo early. That first quarter killed us. Their main scorers off the jumpers weren’t even a factor at that point because we weren’t able to slow the game down.

“They’ll get you to start running circles and we kind of saw how lethal they are. Riverside’s a pretty good team. I’d say they beat us on their transition game. If you take them out of their transition game, it might be a different story, but that wasn’t the case tonight.”

Bloom directed the Chargers (4-6) while scoring all eight of her points and producing seven of her nine assists in the first half.

Karen Schmeits finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds while Maddie Haschke added 14 points.

Sydney Schmitt had 12 points for Heartland Lutheran (6-4). Claire Hiegel added 10 points and 10 rebounds while Justine Bader chipped in nine points and 11 boards.

Langrehr did see some bright spots in the loss.

“What I’m proud of is we didn’t let it get out of control,” she said. “It kind of hit us like a bus, but once we realized what was going on, I was really proud of the seniors for not quitting.”

Riverside 62, Heartland Lutheran 41

RIVERSIDE (4-6)

K. Bloom 2-5 4-6 8, M. Berger 3-4 1-1 8, Choat 2-4 0-0 4, K. Schmeits 9-16 2-2 20, Ma. Haschke 6-12 2-6 14, A. Bloom 0-0 0-0 0, Rankin 0-1 0-0 0, A. Berger 2-7 0-0 4, Mo. Haschke 0-0 0-0 0, Wlaschin 2-6 0-0 4, Vandewalle 0-0 0-0 0, B. Schmeits 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-55 9-15 62.

HEARTLAND LUTHERAN (6-4)

Schmitt 5-15 0-0 12, Bader 4-14 0-0 9, E. Wiegert 2-11 1-3 6, Hiegel 4-9 0-0 10, Zehendner 0-2 0-0 0, K. Wiegert 0-3 0-0 0, E. Niemeier 1-1 0-0 2, Bluschke 0-1 2-2 2, Bockmann 0-0 0-0 0, S. Niemeier 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 16-58 3-5 41.

Riverside 23 14 10 15—62

Heartland Luth. 8 11 7 15—41

3-point field goals—R 1-6 (K. Bloom 0-1, Rankin 0-1, M. Berger 1-1, Ma. Haschke 0-3), HL 6-15 (Schmitt 2-5, Bader 1-3, E. Wiegert 1-4, Hiegel 2-2, Zehendner 0-1). Fouled out—none. Rebounds—R 41 (K. Schmeits 11), HL 34 (Bader 11). Assists—R 12 (K. Bloom 9), HL 10 (Hiegel 4). Turnovers—R 21, HL 25. Total fouls—R 13, HL 12. Technical—K. Schmeits.

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