Easton Valley opened up the quarter by missing its first 10 shots before Chase Zaruba made two free throws that made the score 47-43 in favor of Keota with 3:19 remaining in the game.
Zaruba then made the lone field goal in the fourth quarter with 2:01 remaining on a left-handed drive to the basket. At that point, the River Hawks still trailed by four.
Easton Valley got to within three points with 47 seconds remaining when Blake Bormann hit two free throws, which became the last points that the River Hawks scored.
Bormann ended with five points, while Zaruba led with 16 points.
“We weren’t playing as a team, not being as aggressive, I guess,” Zaruba said. “It was good to get here and to get the experience, but it wasn’t the outcome that we wanted.”
In the first half, the River Hawks scored 31 points by getting the ball inside on strong drives and finishing their shots.
Easton Valley scored 10 points in the paint in the first quarter, thanks to two layups by Craiton Andresen, while Zaruba had two layups, too.
Keota hung around, however, scoring 11 points in the first quarter as well.
“I thought we were gambling too much in the first half,” Beck said. “We were a little too anxious defensively, and we got nothing out of our pressure, which I was afraid of. Today we were a little too anxious.”
The second quarter was where the River Hawks played their best basketball, scoring 19 points before halftime. Most of those points came in the paint (8), while six points came off Keota turnovers.
Keota ended the half with its first buzzer-beater of the game; Zach Mousel hit a deep two-point shot that made the score 30-27 at the half. Easton Valley also had to worry about foul trouble, with Zaruba having three fouls in the first half. He later fouled out in the waning moments of the fourth quarter.