Porter Ridge boys heating up?

Picking up the pieces after a two-win season is never an enviable task, but first-year Porter Ridge boys basketball coach Jim Rhodes is beginning to see some good signs around his program these days.

Take, for example, the Pirates’ 64-55 loss to undefeated Ardrey Kell. With just a minute to go, the Pirates trailed by three points before the Knights salted the game away at the free-throw line.

“We’re still trying to mix in our football guys, so we’re still working,” said Rhodes. “But I think we’ve taken that first step. I think everybody has bought into the system, everyone’s working real hard. I think our defense has been pretty good. I think the next step we need to take is we need to start executing.”

The Pirates have gotten a lift from 6-foot-3 senior forward Harrison Rivers, who’s averaging 15 points, including a season-high 21 points against Ardrey Kell.

“When (we get him the ball down low), he can do some of that stuff,” Rhodes said of Rivers. “A lot of what we’re doing is getting him in the block out in spots where he can be successful.”

Rhodes cited costly turnovers as the main reason for his team’s 1-4 record thus far but explained that the players having to learn a new system, while also breaking in newcomers such as sophomore point guard Frank Anthony, has taken its toll.

“I’m happy with our effort,” Rhodes added. “That’s the first thing. If you’re coaching effort, it’s a whole other ball game.

“I really believe our guys are tough and are fighters. I really hope that will win us some of these close games at the end.

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