By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
GALENA, Kan. —
The last time Riverton and Galena played, the Bulldogs were able to take the Rams out of their rhythm and slow the game down.
This time, Riverton used an early 8-0 run and maintained its up-speed tempo in a 60-53 CNC League victory on Tuesday night.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” said Riverton freshman post Grant North, who scored 17 points. “They like to slow it down, and we like to play a faster game. Last game, they almost got us. We were telling each other that we need to make them feel uncomfortable instead of them making us uncomfortable.”
Riverton (11-5, 3-1 CNC) forced Galena into six turnovers in the first quarter, which helped the Rams build a 13-5 lead.
“It seemed like we had more turnovers than we took shots early in the game,” Galena coach Matt Meyr said. “That was the key to the first of the game.
“We gave them basically a free 10 points just on turnovers. They were making transition buckets that we didn’t let them have the first night. This was kind of a whole different game. We didn’t get a chance to play slower, because they got the lead on us. We couldn’t slow the tempo down. We had to play.”
The win kept the Rams in the league race as they handed Galena (12-5, 3-1) its first CNC loss. St. Mary’s-Colgan and Frontenac remain unbeaten. Riverton still must play Colgan, and Galena will play Colgan and Frontenac.
“We’re still in it,” Riverton coach Zach Martin said. “We just have to take care of business on our end and let it play out.”
The Rams extended their lead to 41-28 at the end of the third quarter.
Galena made five 3-pointers — two from Ray Slimp, two from Kyler Cook and one from Gabe Helton — in the fourth quarter to help cut Riverton’s lead to 58-53. But the Rams made 11-of-12 free throws in the game’s final four minutes to hold on for the win.
“You can never relax,” Martin said. “I was proud of the way our kids battled. Give Galena credit. They never gave up. They made some big shots down toward the end. We had to play 32 minutes to win.”
Sophomore guard Landon North led Riverton with 18 points, making 5-of-6 free throws in the fourth quarter. Slimp led the Bulldogs with 12 points, while Gabe Helton and J.C. Pugsley scored 11 each.
Riverton will travel to face Southeast on Friday, while Galena will be at home against Frontenac.
Galena girls 48, Riverton 30
Riverton committed 15 turnovers in the first half, and Galena turned them into 15 points as the Bulldogs took a 24-14 lead into halftime.
Galena (7-10, 1-3 CNC) forced the Rams into 24 total turnovers and led by as many as 23 points in the second half.
The win was a big sign of progress for the Bulldogs as they fell to Riverton 48-45 in overtime earlier this season.
“We’ve been working real hard,” Galena coach Derik Hunt said. “I’ve been real pleased with the girls’ effort in practice. We’re still looking to improve and get better. We wrote one word on the board tonight, and it was ‘redemption.’ We felt like we gave one away the last time we played. Our girls were really focused tonight that we defended home court and got the job done.”
The Bulldogs took advantage inside with 14 points from sophomore forward Lora Rooffener and 13 from senior forward Abby Shelton.
MacKenzie Dunbar led Riverton with 15 points.