Steenberge comes up big for River Hill, 54-38

Atholton unable to contain Hawks' 6-foot-10 center

Boys basketball

January 04, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

Kevin Steenberge, River Hill's 6-foot-10 junior center, is so tall and has such long arms, watching him stand in the key is like seeing a California Redwood in a forest of pine trees.

But now that his offensive skills have begun to mesh with his body, it's about the only thing wooden about Steenberge anymore.

Steenberge's 15 points, 24 rebounds and six blocks helped the Hawks hold off a scrappy Atholton squad, 54-38, last night, giving River Hill its fourth win in a row and pushing its record to 6-3. And the Hawks did it on the shoulders of their big guy.

"I spent all summer working on my offense," Steenberge said. "I played against some of the great players in the county in AAU like Eric Tobak and that helped a lot. It's coming along."

No doubt about that. With his rebounding prowess and ability to block shots - he averages eight rejections a game - Steenberge is already one of the better defensive players in the league. And while a majority of his points still come on offensive rebounds, Steenberge showed against Atholton he has added a nice fall-away jumper to his repertoire.

"He's going to be a force," Raiders coach Jim Albert said. "I was impressed with him. At 6-10, he moves well. He's going to be a factor in every game they play."

Atholton, which dropped to 2-6, hung tough in the first half, thanks to some deft three-point shooting by Jamie Hollander and Phil Krug, and trailed only 28-25 at halftime.

But River Hill refused to relinquish its lead, and every errant shot seemed to find Steenberge's hands. On one possession, he so viciously rejected an Atholton shot, the ball might have rolled into the parking lot had it not slapped audibly off the gym's back wall.

"We're working on keeping a few more of those balls inbounds," Hawks coach Brian Van Deusen said. "He's doing a bit better job of that. Offensively, I think he's coming around. There is room for improvement, but with Kevin and Alex Nowak, our post play is definitely our strength this year."

River Hill wrapped up the night by getting some key baskets from guards Chris McDonald, Ahren Green and Matt Hostetler during a 16-3 run.

"We've been kind of up and down so far," Steenberge said. "But we're coming off winning the Howard Christmas Tournament and a win over Wilde Lake and now this game. Hopefully, that will just keep us going into a big game at Centennial this Friday."

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