Inside the post-game locker room on Friday night, the Rock Island boys' basketball team modestly celebrated an 80-32 Western Big 6 Conference win over United Township at the Panther Den. The hoopla was saved for another time.|
"We're trying to be humble," Rocky senior guard Brian Richardson later said.
The praise came from the other locker room.
"They were what they are," UT coach Marc Polite said. "They utilize their athleticism. They did a good job of attacking the lane. That's what Rocky does. We just weren't able to stop them on the defensive side of the ball."
In snagging another comfortable league road win, the Rocks (7-0, 2-0 Big 6) reached the 80-point mark for the second time this year with another efficient offensive performance. No celebration, though, was needed as Rocky did what it has done all season.
Then again, the Rocks took their offense to another level.Every player who dressed scored at least three points, with Richardson (12 points) and Raahsaan Brown (11) the only two reaching double figures. Eight players scored five points or more.
"I just love our balance," Richardson said. "I can have an 'off' night, but C.J. Carr, Trey Sigel, Raahsaan Brown or Rob Johnson can pick us up. That's great for our team."
Adding to the victory was a defensive display that Rocky coach Thom Sigel thought overshadowed the offensive display. The Rocks held an opponent below 35 points for the first time this season and limited UT to 22 percent (13 of 59) shooting and 21 turnovers.
The first quarter set the tone for Rocky's fourth consecutive double-digit victory as the Panthers (1-7, 0-2), which have dropped six straight games in the series, scored two points and went 1 of 14 from the field.
"We played good defense," Richardson said.
UT could not find any rhythm nor could it consistently make shots.
"Our first couple games of the season, we were able to make some shots," said Polite, who received 11 points from Deveric Rogers. "It seems like since we've come home (the last three games), we get that cold first quarter. ... When you're missing all of them, you're not going to be able to play against a team like Rock Island."
The Rocks did not allowed UT to stay close knowing the Panthers shook off a big deficit last Friday against Quincy to get close in the second half.
"We had a talk at halftime," Thom Sigel said. "They were reminded of playing 32 minutes."
In 32 minutes, the Rocks allowed 32 points.On offense, they shot 52.5 percent (31 of 59) from the field.
All that carried Rocky to its 19th win in its last 22 league games.
"We try to compete as hard as we can," Richardson said. "We figured the season would start off like this, but we can't let it get to our heads. We just want to keep winning and see how long we can do this."