Strong second half carries RV boys to victory on the basketball court
After a sluggish start in Tuesday’s home match-up with ACCHS, the Royal Valley boys basketball team seemingly flipped a switch and pulled away in the second half on the way to a 51-25 victory.
Following one quarter of play, the Panthers were holding a 7-5 lead and struggling to gain any traction on offense, though RV coach Keith Pelton said that had more to do more with his team than anything Atchison County was doing.
“We were not looking at the other options that we had. We were just getting so focused on one side of the floor,” Pelton said. “We just have to open that to seeing both sides of the floor, get ball reversal and get people moving.”
The Panthers were stagnant and they needed a sparkplug to bring the offense to life. Luckily, Derrick Barger decided to be that instigator and got things going in the second quarter by creating some turnovers and opportunities for points in transition.
While Pelton said it will be important for more than one player to do that down the road, he also noted the Panthers are still getting on the same page and coming together as a group.
Nick Ehrhart followed suit and got a big steal and basket halfway through the second quarter, helping Royal Valley push its halftime lead to 22-13.
Facing a thin Tiger squad, pushing the pace figured to play into the Panthers’ advantage in the second half and Royal Valley didn’t waste that opportunity.
Atchison County might have been banging inside early and hanging around by trying to slow things down, but Royal Valley turned both facets against the Tigers early in the second half.
To start the third quarter, Pelton noted the Panthers went to a set post play that was rather effective and the team stuck with for a while to start pulling away, as well as ratcheting up the defensive intensity to force some turnovers and fuel the offense.
Defense overall was a plus for the Panthers in the second half. Outside of a couple early three-pointers, the Tigers didn’t get much as Royal Valley was quick to close out to the shooters and provided little room for the ACCHS offense to operate.
“We got a lot better rotation. We were sitting and just waiting for somebody else to do something. You can’t play defense when a guy takes three dribbles to the basket and no one rotates. We did a better job of that in the second half,” Pelton said.
A good example of Royal Valley’s defensive effort came at the end of the third quarter as the Panthers crisply executed a full court trap after a free throw and got the steal, though the final shot came up just short.
That was one of the few as the Panthers played unselfish basketball in the third quarter and came alive on the offensive end starting on an 11-3 run and scoring 18 points to take a 40-22 lead into the fourth quarter.
“To get that lead going more and more, you have to start making better shots and just make them have to defend more and more,” Pelton said.
Royal Valley did that as the offense was extremely patient in the second half and got more of the ball movement Pelton was stressing. The Panthers also shared the ball well and had several players contribute with baskets as he said they are starting to buy into the idea that you can have a hand in the score through setting a screen or making a pass and Royal Valley used that to its advantage in the second half.
In addition, one player in particular really came to the forefront and made same plays all over the floor to help extend the lead as Panther Noah Rottinghaus was more active and finished the game with a team-high 17 points.
“I challenged him this year. I said, ‘This is your year. You have to start doing this.’ He’s had the capability. He’s always kind of let someone else take it. He needs to step up and start doing it,” Pelton said.
That started last night, though Rottinghaus wasn’t the only one stepping up as players like Jarrett Roy picked up in the post in the second half and Masen Spoonhunter was a spark off the bench throughout the game.
Royal Valley may still be finding it’s footing, but they will have to do so in the midst of a challenging setting each night out. While the coach and players know that, Pelton said their reaction after Tuesday’s win was a good sign that the Panthers will continue to take strides forward.
“They were happy for the win, but they’re not satisfied,” Pelton said. “If we would’ve played the whole game like we did in the second half, I think they’d be a lot happier and I didn’t have to say anything.”
Next up, the Panthers will look to keep going strong as they hit the road to take on Hiawatha with games starting at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.
Dec. 9, 2014
RVHS: N. Rottinghaus 6 (1) 4-4 17, M. Spoonhunter 4 (1) 1-3 10, Roy 4 0-0 8, Lee 3 2-3 8, Barger 2 1-2 5, Ehrhart 1 0-0 2, Tessendorf 0 1-4 1. Totals- 20 (2) 9-18 51.
ACCHS: Bowen 4 (3) 1-4 12, Noll 3 (1) 0-1 7, Kimmi 1 1-2 3, Smith 1 0-0 2, McAlexander 0 1-2 1. Totals- 9 (4) 3-9 25.
Rebounding: RV- 37 (N. Rottinhaus 9, Tessendorf 6, Roy 5, Barger 5); ACCHS- 15 (Smith 5, McAlexander 4).
Assists: RV- 8 (Barger 4, Ehrhart 2); ACCHS- 5.
Turnovers: RV- 10; ACCHS- 12.