AVON — When the Riverside High School basketball team battled St. Joseph Monday night, it was not just a game, which St. Joseph won 61-34, but it was a reunion of lifelong friends.
Riverside Coach Sam Monroe and St. Joseph Coach James Hunter have been good friends with each other since they were young. In high school, they played basketball, baseball and football together. They also shared many meals.
“I would often visit his house in Arkansas and he would come to my house over here. And, our parents would always come and cook for us. So we would always spend time with each other. Even now as adults and coaches we contact each other and communicate about coaching. It has been a lifelong friendship,” Coach Monroe said.
This is Coach Monroe’s first season at Riverside, and he has no bigger supporter than Coach Hunter.
“Coach Monroe is an outstanding coach and he is going to get Riverside on the right track,” Coach Hunter said. “I was so excited when he got the Riverside job. He is a great coach, and you can already tell they are night and day from where they were last season.”
In Monday’s contest, Jerrian King opened the game with six straight points for the Irish (1-1), who never trailed. King led his team with 21 points. CJ Moore scored 15. Dillan Reed scored seven.
“We got to take it one game at a time,” Coach Hunter said. “We lost a 12-point lead to Heritage Academy because we weren’t ready. We have an experienced group that knows what they have to do. I know my players will be looking forward to the next game.”
Riverside was led by the 13 points of Johnny Williams. Coach Monore said he was also pleased with play of post player Brandon Dinning, who scored seven points despite this being his first season playing organized basketball.
“We have a 5-4 record now, and we are still over .500, which is still pretty good,” Coach Monroe said. “A lot of my kids are growing and that is all I can ask of them. They are growing and getting better.”