The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 11, 2013

Depth, balance key to Riverton's strong start

By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer

ST. CHARLES, Mo. — The Riverton Rams don’t have a player who averages 20 points a game. But what they do have is a deep and balanced team that has helped the Rams build a 6-2 record.

“This is as deep of a team as we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Riverton coach Zach Martin said. “We play nine or 10 and don’t miss a beat. We have a lot of interchangeable parts. You have to give a lot of credit to the kids. Instead of worrying about their playing time that night, they are focused on helping this team win.”

Riverton has several players who could be the team’s leading scorer on any given night.

“They have faith in their teammates and like playing together,” Martin said. “It’s a matter of who’s hot that night.”

Sophomore Landon North and freshman Grant North are tied for the team lead in average with 13.5 points per game. Senior Dylan Weaver averages 9.4 points.

Landon North is back with a year of experience after earning second-team CNC honors as a freshman last season.

Grant North, a 6-foot-5 post, has made an impact as a freshman. He pulls down 9.25 rebounds a game and moved into the starting lineup after the first few games.

“He’s really just starting to come into his own,” Martin said. “As a freshman coming in, he didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes early. But he’s done really well, and he’s going to keep getting better.”

Seniors Greyson Spriggs and Weaver have played on the varsity since their freshman seasons. Spriggs was unanimous first team All-CNC last year, while Weaver earned an honorable mention.

Hunter Deckard, John Patterson and Lucas Stanley join Spriggs and Weaver as senior leaders.

“Their senior leadership is great,” Martin said. “I can’t ask for anything more. They make sure everyone is giving their best effort.”

The Rams just got a little deeper as 6-3 junior Jacob Qualls returned after the holiday break. Qualls separated his left shoulder during football and was just cleared to return this month.

“He provides more depth in the post,” Martin said. “Jacob’s got really good post moves, and he can defend all five spots. He will get better as he gets up to speed and in better shape, because he couldn’t do anything other than ride a bike there for a while.”

The Rams host nonconference foe Northeast for homecoming tonight. After that, Riverton will play in the Frontenac Classic, which will include teams from Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas.

Riverton will open league play at Girard on Jan. 25.

The Rams, who were picked to win the CNC, hope their depth will help them get through a difficult league schedule.

“With our depth, we’re able to stay fresh and essentially wear teams down,” Weaver said. “Whenever we all play to our ability, we’re tough to beat.”