TRINITY — Each time River Ridge tried to come back in Tuesday night’s rivalry match with Mitchell, the Mustangs had an answer.
His name was Jordan Dong.
The 5-foot-8 senior point guard scored 10 of his team-high 19 in the fourth quarter to help Mitchell pull away with a 63-51 home win.
“Jordan is my veteran,” Mitchell coach Jared St. Charles said. “He’s my senior leader.”
And he played like it early. Dong hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter and came up with a pair of steals to help Mitchell (4-1) get up early. A trey from junior Bernie Conley extended the lead to 25-12 at the end of the first.
Mitchell led by as many as 16 in the first half before River Ridge (3-2) started to come back behind 6-9 center John Childs. The junior Division I recruit scored 10 of his team’s 22 first-half points, including five in the closing 1:10 to spark a rally.
Childs — who added 15 rebounds and four blocks — continued his team’s charge in the fourth quarter. He scored 12 of his game-high 26 in the final frame and sank a pair of free throws with 3:25 left to cut Mitchell’s lead to 46-44.
But Dong and the Mustangs answered. Conley hit a free throw, and Dong hit two of his 10 in the quarter to end River Ridge’s run.
Mitchell’s defense kept the Royal Knights away by forcing eight of River Ridge’s 24 turnovers in the final eight minutes, including two of Dong’s five steals.
“I knew the only way that we were going to be able to pull away or at least keep the game in our favor was to pressure them,” St. Charles said.
Mitchell was without one of its key players due to a suspension and another because of a family emergency but had all of its starters score at least nine points: Dong, Conley (12 points), TJ Cortright (11), Zach Rapaport (10) and Lawrence Watt (nine).
“My guys we had here, they stepped up,” St. Charles said. “We got ourselves a good win.”
Senior forward Damion Hicks added 12 points for River Ridge.