Posted: Saturday, January 23, 2016 2:00 am | Updated: 2:05 am, Sat Jan 23, 2016.
By AARON KENNEDY firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rossville boys’ basketball team scored 48 first-half points on its way to a 75-58 victory over the conference- and county-rival Clinton Central Bulldogs on Friday night at Michigantown.
After trading the lead four times in the first couple minutes of the game, the Rossville Hornets went on a nine-point lead to take the lead for good and were up 23-16 at the end of the opening period. Leading 29-20 two-and-a-half minutes into the second quarter, the Hornets scored 14 unanswered points in the next two-and-a-half minutes to break the game wide open.
Rossville hit six shots from the perimeter in the game with three of those coming in the pivotal second quarter. The Hornets shot the ball at a high percentage from beyond the arc in the first half after drawing attention by repeatedly scoring from inside to start the game.
“We knew we had a size advantage inside,” Rossville head coach Cory Dunn said. “We had to get the ball inside. We knew they couldn’t guard us there. I thought we did a really good job of staying disciplined and doing that. Then we wanted to control the tempo. We sped them up early and kind of got them uncomfortable. When we backed that trap off, we still put some decent pressure on the ball and had guys in the right positions. We really didn’t let them get comfortable at all tonight.”
Clinton Central’s disadvantage inside was greater than usual with the absence of junior starter Axle Brandenburg, who was injured in practice the day before.
“It’s day-to-day right now. Hopefully we get a good prognosis tomorrow and he can back to play against Frankfort,” Clinton Central head coach Fonso White said. “They just got on a nice tear of 3s on us. They hit one, and then they just kept going at us. We got beat on the backdoor cuts. (Christian) Howard had four of those.
“My hat’s off to coach Dunn and those guys,” White added. “Those kids execute with the ball, they move the ball very well and execute what they want to do to get the shots they want.”
Howard found room to work in the post and finished with a team-high 16 points.
“He had a great night,” Dunn said. “He was our player of the night, so to speak. He was 8-of-9 from the field and really did a good job of helping in the paint on Orr when he was driving. Also credit the rest of the guys for feeding the machine tonight. He had a mismatch in there, and we giving him the ball.”
Junior Blake Miller scored 15 points for Rossville, while senior guard Enrique Rangel also finished in double figures with 13 and made three 3s in the first half.
“It makes it easier for the guy in the post to go to work,” Dunn said of his team’s perimeter shooting. “We didn’t necessarily shoot it great, but we are capable of shooting it pretty well, and they have to respect it.”
Jarred Warren finished with nine points, while Harrison Whiteman and Brent Tonsoni came off the bench to add six points apiece.
“That’s a solid team over there to play against,” White said. “I told the kids tonight to be glad that they have an opportunity to play against competition like this because it is going to make them better later on.”
Senior forward Tommy Davidson and junior guard Keenan Orr paced the Bulldogs with 17 points apiece, while senior Taylor Turner came off the bench to score 11.
Both teams now prepare to play in the Hoosier Heartland Conference Championship Tournament.
HORNETS 75, BULLDOGS 58
Warren 4 1-2 9, Howard 8 0-1 16, Miller 6 2-2 15, Rangel 4 2-3 13, Homco 1 0-1 3, Whiteman 2 2-5 6, Tonsoni 2 1-2 6, P. Mohler 1 0-0 2, Green 1 0-0 2, Jacoby 1 0-0 2, G. Mohler 0 1-2 1. Totals – 30 9-18 75.
Turner 2 1-2 6, Davidson 5 5-6 17, Orr 6 3-5 17, S. Smith 0 1-2 1, B. Smith 1 1-2 4, Knox 5 1-7 11, Landis 1 0-0 2. Totals – 20 12-24 58.
Rossville 23 25 14 13 – 75
Clinton Central 16 10 9 23 – 58
3-Point Goals – Rossville 6 (Rangel 3, Miller, Homco, Tonsoni), Clinton Central 6 (Davidson 2, Orr 2, B. Smith, Turner). Fouled out – none. Rebounds – Rossville 37, Clinton Central 24. Total fouls – Rossville 18, Clinton Central 18.