In the process, the Bears (11-6 overall, 5-4 subregion) lost a bid to tie their season-best, four-game win streak. Riverdale (12-8, 8-2), meanwhile, trying to keep pace with first-place Jonesboro (14-4, 9-1), tied its season-best, four-game win streak.
Griffin made Riverdale earn every ounce of its latest victory as both teams fought tooth and nail throughout. While Riverdale led 20-13 at the end of the first quarter and 30-28 at the half, Griffin — which led by as much as six in the third quarter — carried a 50-49 lead into the fourth quarter where the lead changed hands five times and stood tied on three other occasions, the last coming when Waldon was fouled on a shot in the lane with 1.2 left.
Waldon, who ended with a game-high 20 points, missed his first free throw but nailed the second to send the game into overtime. There Riverdale’s leading scorer, 6-foot-4 silky-smooth junior forward Quincy January (18 points — all in the second half and overtime), scored four of his team’s nine points to lead the Raiders to victory in a four-minute session that was as hard fought as the rest of the game.
Riverdale scored first in the early stages of a four-minute overtime period on an underhanded, under-the-basket layup by Josh Milam. Griffin matched it on a layup by J.R. Ellis with 1:21 left to tie it 67-all before Riverdale went to work, first on a jumper William McClellan kissed off the glass with 1:05 to play and then on a basket and one by January with :38.3 left to take a commanding 72-67 lead.
Griffin, which couldn’t get any of several shots to fall, was forced to foul. The Raiders added to their lead when January sunk one of two free throws to extend his team’s lead to six, 73-67 with :21 left. The Bears tried two more 3-point shots before they were forced to foul again. This time McClellan extended his team’s lead another point with :06 left before GHS’s J.T. Williams made an uncontested layup at the buzzer to account for the game’s final margin.
Rounding out the game’s top scorers were Griffin’s Rayshod Armstrong (14 points) and Jaquez Parks (12) as well as Riverdale’s McClellan (14) and Milam (13).
Griffin continues its season with another subregion game 7:30 p.m., Friday at North Clayton before hosting Northside-Warner Robins in a non-region game 6:30 p.m., Saturday. Griffin and Riverdale meet again on Feb. 1 at The House in the next-to-last game of the regular season.