"My thinking was--of course they had us outsized big time, so I thought if we came out, held the ball and got those big kids to come out from underneath the basket, it would open some driving lanes for us," explained Richland coach Jeff Jennewein. "If we could have gone ahead early, maybe that would have forced them to come out and play man-to-man."
The Scott City Rams, however, weren't biting and went on to a 56-42 home win over the Rebels on Thursday.
Lance Amick, Scott City coach, said he was never tempted to bring his team out of its zone defense.
"You tell your kids to be disciplined in a game like that and it tests your discipline as a coach, too," said Amick.
"I knew coming in that our matchup (zone) was probably our best defense so I'm glad we stuck to our guns and stayed with it."
Richland's deliberate style -- holding the ball in the backcourt for minutes at a time as the Scott City defense laid back -- resulted in a low-scoring first quarter in which the Rams led 8-6.
During the second quarter, chinks in the Rebels' defense began to show as the Rams pounded the ball inside to its big men.
Six-foot-five sophomore Alex King scored eight of the Rams' 10 points for an 18-12 halftime lead.
"We had a big-time advantage inside and we used that all night," said Amick. "Our guards, Jamie Pinkston, Ethan Watkins, Andy Stephens and Rynn Esklew, are so unselfish and they did a fantastic job of setting our big kids up."
Scott City (7-4) dished 17 assists in the game.
The Rams defense stepped up in the third quarter, converting three steals to baskets, as they extended the lead to 37-23 going into the final period.
"Our kids played a very disciplined game," Amick said. "We did a nice job of winning possessions and executing our gameplan."
Richland (4-7) displayed discipline as well, maintaining the slowdown throughout the contest.
"Tonight, it didn't work but I might try it again sometime," said Jennewein, in his first season at Richland. "They're (Scott City) big, they're well coached, they play hard and it's tough to come into a place like this and get a 'W.' I thought it (stall tactic) might have been the best way (to go)."
Scott City's Farrell Wasson, a 6-5 senior, came off the bench to score the Rams' first eight points, all deep in the paint, in the fourth quarter, to run the lead to 45-26, the widest margin of the evening.
But Richland, behind the hot outside shooting of guard Matt Ritch, matched the Rams' fourth-quarter scoring, 19-19.
Ritch, one of three sophomores in the Rebels' starting lineup, scored 11 points, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. He led Richland with 14 points.
Junior guard Cameron Whittaker had 10, while senior Jackie Smith and sophomore Matt Harlan added nine apiece to round out Richland's scoring.
King topped Scott City with 15.
Richland (0-8) lost 59-40 to Scott City (3-4) in the junior varsity game.
The Rebels stay on the road against Bell City, while Scott City visits Chaffee tonight.
Scott City 56, Richland 42
|Richland||6||6||11||19 -- 42|
|Scott City||8||10||19||19 -- 56|
RICHLAND (42) -- Cameron Whittaker 10, Matt Ritch 14, Jackie Smith 9, Tommy Harlan 9. FG 12, FT 3-4, F 8. (3-pointers: Ritch 4, Harlan 1. Fouled out: none).
SCOTT CITY (56) -- John Pinkston 6, Ethan Watkins 4, Rynn Eskew 6, Andy Stephens 7, Farrell Wasson 8, Ryan Modglin 8, Landon Hill 2, Alex King 15. FG 25, FT 6-8, F 8. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none)