Mark Romick has been a part of a lot of wins during his time as head basketball coach at River High School.
Tuesday's is one he certainly won't soon forget.
Just 24 hours after his father's passing, Romick guided the Pilots to a convincing 55-40 victory against homestanding Bridgeport inside the John J. Havlicek Gymnasium.
"It's tough," Romick said. "He always came to games and used to actually look down the line and tell me what kids were going to be good or not. I know he's here in spirit, but it was tough."
The Pilots overcame a sluggish start in which the Bulldogs jumped out to a 16-12 lead after one when they went to a trapping press. That forced the Bulldogs into a handful of turnovers and allowed River to get out on the break and get the offense going.
"That press in the second quarter really got us going offensively," Romick said. "It was certainly effective because we were able to get on a run and take the lead."
On top of the press, Romick got senior standout Brett Price into the flow of the game. He came off the bench in the first because he's been battling an illness, but he looked healthy enough to the Bulldogs.
He erupted for 13 points in the second quarter and led all scorers with 25.
"Price is a very good player," said Bridgeport head coach Donnie Cash. "The 1-3-1, diamond and then they went back to 1-3-1 and it really slowed us down. We were more aggressive in the first quarter and they were in the second. But, we have to take better care of the basketball."
The Pilots headed to the intermission with a 30-22 lead and basically never looked back. They outscored the Bulldogs, 12-7 in the third and 13-11 in the fourth to improve to 4-1 on the campaign.
"We did a nice job of maintaining and not getting beat off the dribble," Romick said. "We made them make extra passes and we were able to get some turnovers. We played pretty well at times, but there are still a lot of little things we need to get better at and sharpen up. We had opportunities from other guys."
Price's scoring was just part of what he brought to the floor. He snagged eight rebounds, made five steals and blocked a shot.
"Brett's been playing well," Romick said. "We've got to get some guys to step up and start shooting the ball better."
Romick was complemented in the scoring column by senior Cody Caldwell, who had 11 points.
Bridgeport, meanwhile, was led by hard-working sophomore Parker Dyson, who had a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards. Aaron Roth added nine points, while Dallas Fields went for seven.
"We forced too many things and continued to do things we've been doing all season," Cash said. "In game six, now, you'd think you'd learn from your mistakes, but we've not learned yet. We've just got to keep working, but this is a group that's learning how to win and get better. We have to take every situation, review it and get better."
The Bulldogs' season-long struggle at the line continued. The area's worst foul shooting team by percentage knocked down just 8-of-20 freebies.
"We shoot enough in practice," Cash said. "We told the kids it's a mental thing now. At some point, you have to step up and start making them in a game situation."
The Bulldogs had 20 turnovers, which was nine more than the winners.
River captured the jayvee encounter to make it a clean sweep on the evening.
RIVER (55) - Marconi 1, 2-2 4; Isaly 0, 3-4 3; Dierkes 1, 1-1 3; Brown 1, 0-0 2; Indermuhle 2, 3-4 7; Caldwell 5, 0-0 11; Price 11, 1-4 25; Eggleston 0, 0-0 0; Totals: 21, 10-15 55. BRIDGEPORT (40) - Roth 2, 4-6 9; Fields 3, 1-2 7; Teeman 0, 0-1 0; Kreiter 1, 0-0 3; McGrath 0, 0-1 0; Williams 2, 1-2 5; Dyson 7, 2-8 16; Totals: 15, 8-20 40.
Three-Point Goals: R - Price (2), Caldwell. B - Kreiter, Roth.