In the end, however, third-place Spalding (6-5 overall, 3-2 subregion) struggled to keep pace with fourth-place Riverdale (9-6, 5-2) as the Jags lost for the third time in four games and the Raiders won for the third time in four games.
Paving the way was January, who scored a game-high 33, while teammate William McClellon added 12.
Spalding, which led 15-13 at the end of the first quarter, struggled the rest of the way, trailing 37-24 at the half and 57-24 going into the fourth quarter where Riverdale matched every Spalding advance.
Spalding continues its season at home Tuesday when it hosts first-place Jonesboro (10-3, 5-0) in a 7:30 p.m., tipoff. Jonesboro defeated Griffin 46-39 Friday for its second win in a row. Heading into Saturday’s late game against Region 4-AAAA Dic. A first-place Eagle’s Landing, Jonesboro had won five of their last six games, the lone loss, 51-46 on Dec. 31, coming against Carver (Ala.) High.
Although Spalding has struggled in recent outings, the Jags opened the season winning two in a row and later added a season-best, three-game win streak to improve to 5-2 at the time under first-year head coach Kemo Spear. Spalding, which hopes to get back on the winning track Tuesday, continues its season thereafter with a game at crosstown rival Griffin on Friday before traveling to take on Stockbridge on Saturday.