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Riverview boys looking for improvement after last season’s struggles

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Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Riverview’s Noah Black works out during practice Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, in the high school gym.
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Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Riverview’s Jack Stock works out during practice Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, in the high school gym.
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Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Riverview’s Gideon Deasy works out during practice Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, in the high school gym.

Riverview coach Paul Sapotichne knows he doesn’t have the biggest team, or maybe the most experienced team. But that hasn’t dimmed Sapotichne’s expectations one bit.

“We expect to be better than we were last year,” Sapotichne said. “We put in a good offseason. We’re small. We at times will play four kids 5-9 or smaller. There may not be a team that will be smaller than us, but that is no excuse. We need to check out better and be more organized than the teams we play.

“You may be a little bigger than us, a little quicker than us, but we may be able to run our offense and defense better than you. That’s what we’re striving for right now.”

The Raiders finished last season 2-19 overall and 0-12 in Section 1-2A play.

The goal is simple for Sapotichne and his team: be better than last season and to play better in section games.

Riverview returns three starters and is led by senior guard Noah Black.

“Noah cares,” Sapotichne said. “He works hard. He is a leader. We need him to be able to score for us to be successful.”

Senior forward Jack Stock and sophomore guard Gideon Deasy also return to the starting lineup.

“He’s a tough kid,” Sapotichne said of Stock. “He plays very hard. He goes after every rebound, and rebounds will be a premium for us when your starting center is 6 feet. We need some tough rebounds from him.”

Deasy does all the little things well, and all the time, traits that are valued by Sapotichne.

“He arguably is our most valuable player, in that with him in the game, I feel we have a chance to be competitive,” Sapotichne said. “He handles the ball extremely well. Gideon can handle the ball. It will be tougher to press us. He’s savvy. He throws good passes. He can finish some plays. You knock him down, he gets back up and doesn’t say a word.”

Vying for the last two starting spots are junior guard Nate Black, junior guard/forward Thanny Black, sophomore guard Aiden Sebastian and junior forward Jack Harden.

According to Sapotichne, filling out the last two spots in the lineup could be a combination of players possibly on a rotating basis.

Riverview opens the season Dec. 7 at home against Trinity Christian in a nonsection matchup.

D.J. Vasil is a freelance writer.

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