Hornets avenge Oracle loss: Early offense, tough defense keys for Rossville boys’ victory
ROSSVILLE – Dave Mosson emphasized to his team that starting quickly and gaining an early lead would be critical against a Delphi team that prefers to play low-scoring games.
Mosson’s players listened and it showed Saturday night when his Rossville boys’ basketball team avenged one of its three losses. Rossville (6-3) disposed of Delphi (5-5) by shooting well, 21-of-36 for 58 percent from the field and 24-of-30 for 80 percent from the foul line, and tough defense.
“I told our boys we wanted to get off to a quick start,” said Mosson, Rossville’s head coach. “(Delphi) wants to keep the game in the 40s and they want to slow you down. I told our team we have to get off to a really good start. They have a spread offense that they run when they get a lead and they’ll run it for two or three minutes at a time with a lead. It was important that we got out to a good start, which we did. I think that’s due to patience and making the extra pass.”
Delphi defeated Rossville 53-42 in the third-place game of the Indiana Kitchen Classic on Dec. 7 in the Oracles’ home gymnasium. On Saturday, Rossville used its knowledge from the first contest to earn a home victory.
“We remember that loss,” Mosson said. “I remember it, because I didn’t have our kids prepared for their zone. I thought tonight we did a really good job of attacking their zone to the point where we got a nice lead and they had to come out of it. I thought we were patient offensively and took good shots for the most part.
“What I was more impressed with was our defense,” he added. “We knew the Hawn kid was a scorer along with Lane and Wagner. I just thought our defensive effort was outstanding tonight. Even in our zone, I thought we covered people well as we only gave up 38 points. If I was happy about anything, it would be our defense.”
Senior ET Brenneman agreed about avenging the early season loss.
“We played awful that game so it was nice to get them back,” Brenneman said. “It’s been a rivalry with them my whole high school career.”
The Hornets got off to a quick start Saturday. They made a few buckets early as they built a 17-6 lead after the first quarter. Following a free throw from junior Clayton Howard, the Hornets led 20-10 in the second quarter. During the final 3:45 of the first half, they went on a 12-5 run to break the game open wide.
Rossville’s first five points of the spurt were all three throws. Then Brenneman made a layup with 1:02 remaining in the half. Fellow senior Austin Miller drained a three-pointer on the next possession. Howard scored right before the buzzer on a dish from Brenneman to give Rossville a 32-15 halftime lead.
“We knew they were going to throw some crap defense at us,” Brenneman said. “If I was open, I took it. We tried to get Brandon or Austin open if we could. We practiced all week for a crappy defense so we had plays for all of those.”
The Hornets continued to roll offensively in the second half as they outscored Delphi 37-23 during the final 16 minutes. Senior Brandon Tonsoni scored eight of his 10 points in the third quarter, while Miller chipped in eight points, too. Miller scored 15 points for the Hornets.
“We knew they would come out in a junk defense to take Brandon out of the game,” Mosson said. “I thought Brandon did a nice job of not forcing things. I thought he did a nice job of letting the game come to him and also incorporating the kids around him with passes.”
Brenneman led Rossville in scoring with 18 points Saturday night. Howard was the fourth Hornet to score in double figures with 11 point. Senior Austin Meyers added eight for the Hornets.
“I thought ET played well,” Mosson said. “He was pretty much our offense in the first half and he’s capable of doing that because he’s 6-6 and he plays point guard. He had a nice game.”
“I thought Clayton Howard played pretty well,” Mosson added. “Austin Meyers came in and did a really good job of guarding Hawn in our man-to-man and contributing rebounds and points. I think he had a few blocked shots, too. Every kid we put in tonight contributed something so I’m pleased with the overall effort.”
Saturday’s game was Rossville’s first contest in eight days. Rossville was scheduled to play Frontier on Jan. 4, but Frontier postponed because of an incoming snowstorm. That snow forced school cancelations all week and kept the Hornets out of practice for three days. The weather also postponed their game against Clinton Prairie that was scheduled for Friday night.
“It was really nice to play tonight,” Brenneman said. “We took a long break off and it was kind of annoying. I’m not sure why we didn’t play against Clinton Prairie because the roads were perfectly fine. We were sick of sitting around at home so we were ready for this one.”
Mosson agreed, saying the week seemed to drag by slowly.
“It seems like forever and it’s only been a week,” Mosson said. “It seemed like a lot longer. We came in Thursday for our first practice since last week and I though the kids were focused. It felt like we didn’t miss a beat. We had two really good practices before this game.”
Rossville has a tough week ahead of itself, beginning Friday with a home game against Hoosier Heartland Conference foe Tri-Central (3-4). Rossville will play at Frankfort (6-4) the following night.