Rebounding leads Risco to victory
RISCO - The Risco Tigers boys basketball team won their second straight game of the season, as they defeated the Bernie Mules at home, by a score of 75-64 on Friday night.
The game featured a total of 42 fouls between the two schools. Risco attempted 41 foul shots, while Bernie attempted 23 shots from the line.
The Tigers started the game on a 8-0 run to sprint out to the early lead. The Mules first score in the quarter was at 3:30 on a 3-pointer. Risco outscored Bernie 10-5 in the quarter.
Risco hit the boards hard with Rodulfo Johnson, Robert Fowler and Andrew Halford in the first half. All three recorded five rebounds apiece in the first half, as the Tigers outrebounded Bernie 21-12 in the half. Risco enjoyed a 25-15 lead heading into halftime.
"Our defensive energy was tremendous tonight in the first half," said Risco head coach Brandon Blankenship. "The guys really crashed the boards hard and held Bernie to just one opportunity early in the game."
Risco played some tough defense in the first half, but Bernie head coach Morris Karnes thought his club didn't execute early in the contest.
"We didn't play smart early in the game," said Karnes. "We were running around and not getting open. I didn't see any attempts at setting screens in the first half. We just threw the ball around and that really hurt us."
After a sluggish first half start by both squads, the offensive action heated up in the third quarter as the teams combined to score 51 points. Risco got hot behind the 3-point line, as the Tigers hit five 3s in the third. Ricky Davis hit three 3s for Risco in the quarter.
Risco fans held their breath early in the third quarter, as Johnson picked up his fourth foul at 7:10 of the quarter. But the guard play of the Tigers picked up the slack as Davis, Brice Earnheart and Levi Newsom hit some clutch 3-
pointers to stretch out the Tiger lead to 55-36 heading into the fourth quarter.
In the final quarter, Bernie made a charge thanks to the inside play of Marcus Massey, who made some tough baskets down low for the Mules.
"We try to get the ball low to Marcus in every game," said Karnes. "But as I said earlier, tonight we didn't run the offense and just threw the ball around with no purpose. We didn't play very well until their was six or seven minutes left in the game and by the time, we were to far behind to catch up."
Although Bernie outscored Risco 28-20 in the fourth quarter, Risco held on to the 75-64 victory thanks to some clutch free-throws made by the Tigers.
Risco committed 15 turnovers to the Mules' 14 in the game. The Tigers won the rebounding battle, 36-33.
The Tigers got excellent production from their frontline. Halford led the Tigers in scoring and rebounding with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Fellow forward Fowler had 16 points and six rebounds. Despite having foul trouble all night long, Johnson scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds. Of his eight rebounds, four were of the offensive variety.
From their guards, Davis scored 13 points and dished out five assists for Risco. Earnheart chipped in 10 points off the bench. Levi Newsom netted eight points.
Massey scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Bernie. Britt Arnold scored 14 points and tallied seven assists. Arthur Lopez had a good game off the bench with seven points and six rebounds.
"Risco has a nice team," said Karnes. "The Johnson kid is an athlete and with him, Risco plays a lot better."
Blankenship was very pleased with the defensive effort of his club.
"Tonight was the best our defense has been early in the year," said Blankenship. "We started out slow in the first half scoring, but this team has got some shooters and we had some guys without field goals in the first half. Those guys were going to hit some shots in the second half and thankfully for us, they did."
Bernie won the junior varsity game 46-37 over Risco.
The Mules (2-2) will be at home on Tuesday and will entertain the Woodland Cardinals starting with the junior varsity game at 6 p.m.
Risco (2-3) received the No. 7 seed in the Clarkton Holiday Tournament and will face No. 2 Clarkton on Tuesday at 6 p.m.