PROPHETSTOWN — Teams struggling to find a winning groove sometimes get that bigvictory that turns things around.|
The Riverdale Rams had that kind of game at Prophetstown High School on Tuesdaynight, jumping out to a huge first quarter lead and coasting to a big 78-44 Three RiversConference win over the host Prophetstown Prophets.
"It's got to be (that kind of game) for us," said Rams senior point guard Jared Richmondof the win in relation to Riverdale's season. "We control our own destiny. We want achance at the conference title and we need to stay consistent and keep playing with thiskind of effort. We may have to win out."
Richmond, who left the two team's previous matchup with a concussion in what was ahome loss to the Prophets, was dazzling as Riverdale's floor leader, going for game-highsof 25 points, eight assists and three steals and keeping the Rams offense on a fast pacethat kept the Prophets reeling.
Riverdale (9-9, 4-2 TRAC-9) forced nine turnovers and jumped out to a huge 31-4 first-quarter lead behind Richmond and fellow senior Drew Beale (13 points, seven rebounds),who had a field day in the paint with the Prophets missing senior power forward ZachInskeep because of injury.
Prophetstown (9-6, 4-1 TRAC-9) recovered slightly in the second quarter by playingeven basketball with the Rams. Still, the Prophets had trouble cutting into the lead, evenwith senior Carter Ames scoring eight of his 13 points in the frame it was still 51-26 athalftime.
"To have this kind of win in this gym is impressive," said Riverdale coach JasonHendrix, who has watched his team go up-and-down throughout this season. "We started5-0 and then we went 3-9 but it's always been there. Tonight the effort matched the talentand if they put their effort out there, they will win games. We saw signs of what we cando if we can put it all together."
Prophetstown continued to struggle in the second half and took a big blow when seniorpoint guard Devin Johnson (four points, two steals) badly dislocated the pinky finger onhis shooting hand on a drive with 6:47 to play in the third quarter.
There was no known definitive timetable for Johnson's return after the game.
Shots just weren't falling for the Prophets (16-of-50 from the field) unless they were byjunior forward Ethan Howard, who stepped up into the go-to-guy role and put up team-highs of 19 points and five rebounds on 7-of-14 shooting.
"We have to limit our turnovers," said Howard of his team's performance and the 25turnovers they gave up. "We have to make a lot of adjustments with two starters out,looks like Devin might be out a couple weeks with a dislocated finger."
Riverdale kept breaking Prophetstown's press in the second half and kept the pedal tothe medal in a fast-paced transition offense that netted double figure scoring for seniorsMitchell Sand (12 points, six rebounds) and Bart Johnson (10 points), and sophomoreCole Solomon (10 points).
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