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Risco falls in overtime to Ellington

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

(Photo)
Risco's Brice Earnheart swoops in for a layup.
RISCO - The Risco Tigers boys basketball team fell in overtime to the Ellington Whippets, 75-70, on Saturday afternoon at home.

Ellington (4-8) outscored the Tigers by 21 from the charity stripe, as the game was marked with abundance of fouls. For the contest, Ellington was 32-

for-38 from the foul line, while Risco hit on 11-of-19 foul shots.

"We never could seem to get in a rhythm as a team with all the fouls," said Risco head coach Brian Blankenship. "With the foul problems, we had a lot of odd lineups in the game trying to come together."

The game was close throughout the first half, as the Whippets led 33-31 heading into halftime. Both teams seemed to be in the feeling out stage in the half, as Risco and Ellington combined to commit 24 turnovers in the first half. The Tigers committed 11 turnovers, while Ellington countered with 13 turnovers.

Derek Brewer led Ellington in the first half with 14 points, including two 3-

pointers and four rebounds. Matthew Smith, a 6-foot-6 center, had six points and five rebounds at the half for the Whippets.

Senior Andrew Halford had a nice first half for the Tigers with 13 points, four assists and three rebounds. Robert Fowler chipped in with six points, six rebounds and two assists at the half for Risco.

Ellington outscored Risco 15-12 in the third period, to take a 48-43 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Whippets took advantage of five turnovers by the Tigers, and got the ball down low to Smith for some easy buckets.

"We have a tendencies to make turnovers," said Blankenship. "We have struggled all year in taking care of the basketball."

Ellington led 61-58 with 1:57 left in the fourth quarter. Ricky Davis was fouled driving to the bucket for Risco, and made 1-of-2 free throws to trim the deficit to 61-59 with 1:40 left in the contest.

After the Whippets made two foul shots to extend the lead to 63-59, Halford hit a 15-foot jump shot for Risco to cut the Ellington advantage to two points, 63-61 with 57 seconds remaining.

Risco forced a turnover from Ellington and set up a play in their offensive end with time running down. With 25 seconds remaining, Halford drove from the left baseline down into the paint, and did a reverse layup over several Ellington defenders for two points and tied the score at 63, with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

The Whippets missed on a 20-foot jump shot on their offensive end, and the game went into overtime tied at 63.

Risco took the lead with 2:30 left in overtime, as Rodulfo Johnson hit 1-of-2 free throws. On the second attempt, Brice Earnheart of the Tigers gained the offensive rebound and found Halford, who put it in for two points and the lead, 66-65.

The lead was short-lived for Risco, as Brewer hit a 10-foot jump shot to put Ellington on top, 67-66.

The next five possessions for Risco, proved to be their undoing. On the first possession, two missed free-throws cost the Tigers the opportunity to regain the lead. With 1:20 left in overtime and trailing 67-66, Risco turned the ball over on a charge violation.

After Ellington scored on an offensive rebound to go up 69-66, Risco turned the ball over on two consecutive offensive possessions and were down three points, 69-66 with only 29 seconds to go in the overtime period.

The Whippets increased the lead to 70-66, after hitting a free-throw. Halford scored on a driving layup for Risco, to cut the Ellington lead in half, 70-68 with 21 seconds left.

Ellington hit 1-of-2 free-throws after being fouled on their next possession, and led 71-68. Risco's attempt to tie the game, rimmed out on an Halford three-point attempt.

The Whippets went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe in the remaining seconds, to come away with the 75-70 victory over Risco.

"Even though we lost the game," said Blankenship, "I think overall we played with the most intensity we have played with all year. If we play like we did in the fourth quarter the rest of the season, we will be okay going into district play."

Brewer led Ellington with 24 points and five assists. Brewer also pulled down eight rebounds. Smith tallied 19 points and led the Whippets with 10 rebounds. Levi Swyres chipped in with 16 points for Ellington.

The Whippets ended up with 26 turnovers and 14 assists as a team for the game. Ellington hauled down 25 rebounds (five offensive) as a team.

Halford led the way for Risco with 31 points, six rebounds (four offensive) and five assists.

"Andrew did what we asked him to do," said Blankenship, "he took the ball to hole and put the pressure on the defensive to make a play. He (Halford) is our go-to-guy."

Johnson was a force off the bench for the Tigers, with 12 points and eight rebounds (six offensive). Robert Fowler scored six points and had a team-

leading 10 rebounds for Risco.

Risco committed 22 turnovers, while dishing out 13 assists. The Tigers had 33 rebounds (18 offensive) as a team.

Ellington won the junior varsity contest 55-47 over Risco.

Risco (4-6) will play at Clarkton tonight in a key Tri-County Conference matchup. Game time is set for 6 p.m. for the junior varsity game.