The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

February 26, 2014

Riverton whips Panthers to share CNC honors

PITTSBURG, Kan. — A 20-point loss to the St. Mary’s-Colgan Panthers during last year’s sub-state tournament remained fresh in the minds of the Riverton Rams.

“We were kind of disappointed with how we lost to them last year in sub-state,” Riverton junior guard Landon North said. “We just wanted some revenge on them.”

A determined Riverton squad defeated the Panthers 67-50 on Tuesday night at Colgan. The win means Riverton (17-2) and Colgan (14-4) share the CNC championship at 6-1.

The Rams led almost the entire game.

“We played well from start to finish,” Riverton coach Zach Martin said. “That’s what our team can look like when we put 32 minutes together. That’s a very good Colgan team, and teams don’t come in here and do this very often. That’s a credit to their program, but I thought our kids weren’t intimidated and we played well.”

North, who led all scorers with 20 points, scored nine points in the first quarter to help the Rams jump out to a 23-13 lead.

“He set the tone for us,” Martin said. “We didn’t settle for jump shots. We attacked the basket.”

While Landon North was big for the Rams in the first half, his younger cousin, Grant North, was a huge factor in the second half. The 6-foot-5 sophomore scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half. In addition to scoring, his ability to keep Colgan off the offensive boards also was key.

“You have to keep a player like him off the boards,” Colgan coach Wayne Cichon said. “He was a nemesis for us on both our offensive boards and their offensive boards. He got two or three big putbacks for them, and he got some big defensive rebounds. He was a determining factor in the game, because we’ve played several teams and those things hadn’t happened to us before.”

Grant North’s eight points in the third quarter helped Riverton extend its lead to 53-39.

However, the Panthers made a run. An inside basket by Garrett Normand and a 3-pointer by Luke Marquardt, who led the Panthers with 16 points, cut Riverton’s lead to 55-46 with 5:38 left. A drive by Marquardt cut the deficit to 55-48 with 4:53 remaining.

Then a technical foul on the Riverton bench opened the door even wider for the Panthers.

“I was frustrated, because I thought our guy got fouled down here pretty good and then we got a touch foul on the other end,” Martin said. “I let the emotions get the best of me. By no means did I want to get one at that point in the game. I didn’t want that to come back to haunt us, but our kids responded well.”

Colgan’s Chase VanBecelaere missed both of the technical shots. Riverton responded by going on a 10-0 run to lead 65-48 with 2:25 left.

“They got the technical foul,” Cichon said. “We miss two free throws, and then they get a turnover and score. That was a four-point swing right there. Even with that, we were still in the game. We cut it to seven, but we just couldn’t get the stop at that point. Give Riverton all the credit.”

Colgan will be at home against Labette County on Thursday. Riverton will open its Class 3A sub-state tournament with a home game on Monday. Sub-state pairings will be released today.

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