The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

March 13, 2014

Shots finally fall as Riverton moves into Class 3A semifinals

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — It was just a bit beyond frustrating time for Riverton late in the third quarter against Rock Creek during the 3A boys quarterfinals at the Sports Arena.

With two minutes left in the third with the Rams trailing by five, Riverton coach Zach Martin called a timeout after his team missed ample scoring opportunities close to the basket.

With frustration mounting, it could have gone downhill for the Rams in a hurry. Instead, Riverton focused on the fact it was getting good looks rather than dwelling on the unlucky bounces.

After the timeout, the shots finally started going in for the Rams. A 14-5 run followed, and Riverton held on for a 58-50 win.

“The shots just started falling,” Martin said. “I thought we were getting good looks, they just weren’t falling. To our guys’ credit, you’re down five in an atmosphere and stage like this, it would have been very easy and to check it in. But good grief, there is no quit in them.”

Rock Creek entered the second half with a one-point lead and maintained this advantage for the entirety of the third quarter.

During the final minutes of the third, the Mustangs had golden opportunities to extend a five-point lead and habitually got to the free throw line. However, they couldn’t convert on many of the shots from the charity stripe and let the Rams linger around.

Finally, at the end of the third after Martin called a timeout, the Rams started making some easy baskets that weren’t falling earlier.

With just over four minutes left in the game, the Rams finally broke through and took a 45-44 lead on a Grant North layup.

Eventually, with just over two minutes left, the Rams snagged a five-point lead on another Grant North easy basket.

“I thought the post play was a lot better in the second half,” Martin said.

In addition to the offense finally clicking, the Rams’ defense also stepped up and forced a bevy of late Mustang turnovers. The defensive prowess enabled the Rams to close out down the stretch.

“We had to get stops,” Martin said. “Sure we were making baskets, but most importantly we were getting stops on the other end.”

Junior Landon North then made several free throws in the closing minutes to keep the Rams’ lead out of reach. Landon finished with a game-high 18 points while Grant North added 14.

With 30 seconds left and a seven-point lead,  junior Logan Edwards clinched the win when he drew a charge.

Edwards finished with five points, but Martin said his impact went well-beyond the box score.

“Logan Edwards had the biggest game of his career on the biggest stage,” Martin said. “I’m proud of that kid. No one works harder. If we gave out a game ball tonight, he would’ve got it.”

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