R-P boys gaining steam


TCR/DAWN HAUGE Rushford-Peterson sophomore Trey Olson goes up for the shot over Southland’s Noah Lamp.
By : 
CHAD SMITH
TRI-COUNTY RECORD

The Rushford-Peterson Trojan boys’ basketball team won a pair of games last week, starting with a home court victory over Houston on Tuesday, Jan. 8. R-P followed that win with an impressive performance against Southland Friday, Jan 8. With victories in seven of their last eight games, the Trojan record stands at 9-4 overall (4-2 TRC).

R-P vs. Houston

The Trojans welcomed the Hurricanes to town, then sent them home after a solid 58-45 win. R-P led by six points (30-24) at halftime before outscoring Houston by seven (28-21) in the second half to pull away for a 13-point win.

Trojans’ coach Chris Drinkall said the team took advantage of a size mismatch under the basket. “We had a mismatch down low with Ben Wieser on the inside,” Drinkall said. “He was eight for 13 shooting and had 17 points for us. We did a good job of getting him the ball down low and attacking their 1-3-1 zone defense in a number of ways.” Landon Skalet matched Weiser’s 17-point production, and Luke O’Hare added 16.

“We’ve been looking for Landon (Skalet) to start scoring like he did last year,” Drinkall adds. “His scoring average had almost doubled in the last few games compared to where he started out.”

Drinkall was also pleased with the team’s defense. “Any time you can hold an opponent under 50 points, you’ve got a good chance to win,” he said. R-P  finished with nine steals in the game, getting three each from Skalet and Kobe Lind.

The Trojans hit 24 of their 58 shots (41%), doing the most damage closer to the basket. They hit 20 of 40 shots from two-point range (4 of 18 on three-pointers). R-P also went six for eight at the free throw line.

The team pulled down 30 rebounds, 15 on the offensive end. Skalet was the top rebounder with eight boards (to go with a team-high 5 assists), while O’Hare grabbed 6 rebounds of his own (getting 3 assists and 2 steals as well). Vinnie Mason added four rebounds to go with six points. Drinkall said the team seems to be gelling after a slower start to the season.

“We’re playing a lot of younger kids,” he said. “We knew it would take a little time for them to come together as a team. After the first five or six games of the season, I think we’re getting there. Over the last eight games, a lot of different people have led us in scoring on a given night. We’re not relying on one or two guys to do everything, it seems like everyone is contributing.

R-P vs. Southland

The suspense was out of this one early as the Trojans offense nearly put five players in double figures while playing well defensively on the other end of the floor. The Trojans more than doubled the Southland score at halftime, leading 34-15. R-P outscored the Rebels by 18 (37-19) in the second half and emerged with a 71-34 victory.

“We played well defensively,” Drinkall said. “I think there were about seven minutes left in the first half before they scored their first point. Our defensive pressure was outstanding and forced them into a lot of turnovers. The pressure gave us a double-digit lead by halftime and we never looked back.

“We’ve been playing a 2-2-1 zone press that’s worked well,” Drinkall added. “We try to get the other team to dribble down the sidelines and trap the basketball. Even if we don’t get the ball trapped, we’re still trying to make the other team play faster than they want to. If we can make a lot of people have to handle the basketball, that can lead to mistakes by the other team.”

The Trojans finished with 10 steals on the night (3 each for Lind and O’Hare 3). On the glass, R-P grabbed 34 rebounds and limited Southland’s second-chance scoring opportunities. Twelve of the 34 rebounds came on the offensive end.

Three players were once again in double figures. Weiser was R-P’s top scorer with 15 (six rebounds). Skalet had 12 points and a team-high 5 assists. Lind added 10 points on four of six shooting. Justin Ruberg chipped in nine points while O’Hare was one field goal from a double-double, getting eight points and a team-best 10 rebounds.

The team shot the ball well, draining 24 of their 52 shots (46%), hitting from inside and outside. The Trojans went 16 for 31 (51%) on two-point shots and hit a solid eight of 21 from long range (38%). They also hit 15 of 21 free throws against Southland.

The Trojans finished with 10 assists and just eight turnovers against the Rebel defense.

Schedule

The Trojans have a busy week that started on Tuesday, Jan. 15, with a road game at St. Charles. They’re back home for a conference game on Thursday against Chatfield. They hit the road for Crestwood, Iowa, on Saturday, Jan. 19. 

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